India: Religious Principal Abuses Students, Forces Them to Hear Hymns

India Children Singing

The principal of a government school in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu was recently accused of physically and verbally abusing his students while forcing them to listen to and learn religious songs.

“The headmaster forces us to listen to Christian devotional songs on his mobile phone during class hours and asks us to sing it daily. Also if he finds religious symbols on our foreheads, he asks us to remove them immediately,” said the school’s students to local media.

When the abuse refused to go away, the students decided to tell their parents about it. That is when the adults of the village decided to complain to the collector in charge P Ilango. The students’ parents alleged that the principal, G Santhakumar, regularly beat their children on school premises and forced them to listen to religious songs inside the classroom.

While Santhakumar admitted to beating the children, saying his decision was based on the fact that the students had disobeyed him and entered a sugarcane field situated near the school, he denied ever having forced them to listen to religious songs. When reporters visited the school however, they saw no sugarcane field but only barren land surrounding the premises.

Speaking about corporal punishment, the students said, “The headmaster used to speak on his mobile phone in the classroom and he beat us if we wanted to clarify our doubts when he was on his phone. He thrashed us for touching his car but he forced us to clean his car regularly.”

Claiming that the principal was keen only on teaching religious songs, the students told of  how Santhakumar played a variety of hymns on his mobile phone every day and asked them to sing along. At the end of the day, he would allegedly instruct the students to practice the hymns at home.

“The headmaster also told us that evil spirits will not affect us if we sang these songs at home and asked us to try it in the graveyard,” said one of the students.

The villagers confirmed that they often heard their children sing religious songs while playing at home.

“The children sing Christian songs like rhymes when they play in groups without understanding the religious meaning,” said Ranjith, one villager.

There are a total of 16 students at Santhakumar’s school. A second teacher at the school also confirmed the principal’s habit of teaching the students religious songs.

Photo Credits: Wikimedia

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