MATHURA, India - A man in northern India had to spend the night in jail after a group of journalists captured an image of him riding a bike with his seven-year-old daughter tied to the back seat with ropes.
It later emerged that the man was forcefully taking the kid to school after she had refused to appear for her maths exam, Indian Express newspaper has reported.
"I only wanted her to appear for the exam. Perhaps, the method I used was not right," said Bhagat Singh, who is employed in a village public school in Nagla Mana village in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh state.
The story is a silver lining in a country where campaigners say going to school is still a distant dream for many girls, especially in rural India, and that many parents think it is not necessary to educate their daughters.
The incident occured last Saturday, when three of his Singh's five children were due to write their respective exams in their school.
While her siblings left for school, the seven-year-old, who was not identified by name, hid in the nearby fields to escape. She also reportedly bit her mother who found her and dragged her home.
"Her exams are on. Both her elder sister and her younger brother are studying and performing well. She doesn't learn from them," said Singh. "She is difficult to tackle, this one."
The child was promised sweets and gifts, but when she refused to relent, her angry father tied her to the back of his bike with ropes and took her to school, BBC said.
Singh said he feared otherwise "she might jump off and get hurt".
The ride was clicked by a group of journalists, and the image quickly went viral. Singh was arrested and had to spend the night in jail. A day later, the 40-year-old was let out on bail. On Thursday, Singh shared his side of the story.
The school security guard spends most of his monthly income of 7,000 rupees (S$155) on his children's education. "I could easily have put them in a government school. But I didn't do that thinking the education at a public school would be more beneficial. Which is why I push them everyday to study," he said.
Pointing to his seven-year-old, he said failure would not lead her anywhere in life.
"I don't want her to end up like me. I want all my children to do well and escape this life of poverty."
India has a female literacy rate of 64 per cent, compared with 81 per cent for men.
When asked why she refused to appear for the exam, the seven-year-old said: "I hate maths".
But, unfortunately for her, the school has agreed to give her another chance to appear for the maths test.