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8-year-old boy caned

Mumbai, Aug. 7: A lady teacher has been filmed caning an eight-year-old boy at a private Mumbai school for differently abled children.

The disclosure comes at a time the Centre has moved to mention corporal punishment as a separate offence under amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act. The Mumbai incident comes weeks after a teacher was clicked kicking and beating a kid at a school for the visually challenged in Andhra Pradesh.

A criminal case has been filed against the Mumbai teacher, but only after the police chief issued orders to officers who were accused of initially trying to fob off the parents by making only a diary entry.

The teacher could face up to a year in jail if convicted. She has not been held yet with the police citing a recent Supreme Court ruling that arrests should be made only after examining whether there is sufficient evidence.

The teacher is shown caning the child on his palm in the video, clicked by a person who lives next door to the Little Angels’ Special School in central Mumbai’s Matunga and claimed he “heard screams from the children daily”.

The video was shot on July 30 and the clip circulated to some parents on WhatsApp. But it wasn’t until a parents’-teachers’ meeting on Saturday that the child’s family became aware of the torture.

“Though the incident happened on July 30, the parents of the child came to know when another parent forwarded the them the video at the meeting…they were shocked to see the child was their son,” said an officer from Matunga police station.

The existing Juvenile Justice Act does not specifically mention corporal punishment, but draft amendments to the law cleared by the Union cabinet yesterday list it as a separate offence.

The teacher has been charged under Section 23 of the JJ Act, which states that “whoever having actual charge of or control over a juvenile assaults, abandons, exposes or wilfully neglects the juvenile shall be punishable with a term which may extend to six months or fine or with both”.

In this case, the officer said investigations were on to determine “if the teacher regularly indulged in such behaviour with the boy and with other children”.

Jehangir Afshari, the school’s director, was not available for comment. But other school officials said the teacher, employed for two years, had been suspended.