India school head arrested for caning blind students

HYDERABAD, India (AFP) - Indian police arrested a school principal on Monday after a video showing him allegedly thrashing three blind children with a cane was posted on the Internet.

Police said the principal, who is also visually impaired, and a teacher were arrested in the southern city of Kakinada amid public outrage over the incident.

The video showed three children at a boarding school in the state of Andhra Pradesh cowering, wailing and begging their attacker to stop hitting them.

Police said the incident took place Friday at the Greenfield Residential School for the blind in Kakinada.

"We registered a case against the correspondent (the teacher) and the principal," deputy police superintendent Vijay Bhaskar Reddy told AFP.

"Three students were handled (roughly)," Mr Reddy said.

The fuzzy video footage appears to show the principal holding three little boys down one by one and whacking them with a cane as they crouched and begged for mercy.

The two accused were set to appear in court Wednesday after police filed preliminary child cruelty charges over the beatings. It was not immediately clear who took the video.

After the images appeared, angry parents and other locals on Monday stormed the school and beat up the principal, according to footage aired on television.

The video showed men punching the principal and kicking him off his chair, throwing notebooks, files and a plastic chair at him as well as shouting abuse.

Angry locals continued to rain blows on the accused as police took him away from his office.

The attack on the principal came as Indian police beat back angry protesters on Monday who attempted to storm a top school in the city of Bangalore where a six-year-old girl was allegedly raped.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has demanded an inquiry into the caning incident.

"A report has been sought on the incident and the action taken. Such kind of corporal punishment is unacceptable," NCPCR Chief Kushal Singh said, according to CNN-IBN network.

A Supreme Court judgement in 2000 prohibited corporal punishment in India but the practice remains rife.

A 12-year-old boy hanged himself in 2010 in the eastern city of Kolkata after being caned by his teacher.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.