Indian teacher allegedly killed Dalit student over spelling mistake | Crime News

The 15-year-old man died of his injuries at a hospital in northern Uttar Pradesh and the accused has fled the area.

Indian police are searching for a teacher accused of beating a Dalit student to death over a spelling error, officials said amid violent protests over the incident.

Nikhil Dohre was beaten with a stick and kicked unconscious by his high school teacher earlier this month after he misspelled the word “social” on an exam, according to a police complaint from his father.

The 15-year-old man died of his injuries at a hospital in northern Uttar Pradesh on Monday, and the accused has fled the area.

“He is at large, but we will arrest him soon,” police officer Mahendra Pratap Singh told AFP.

The Dalit community – formerly known as “untouchables” – is at the bottom of India’s caste system and has been subjected to prejudice and discrimination Hundreds of years.

Al Jazeera’s Pavni Mittal reported from New Delhi that violent protests broke out in Olea district, where the attack took place, calling for the teacher’s arrest before the boy’s body was cremated.

“The family say the boy was beaten by his teacher for a spelling mistake a few weeks ago. Now the family is calling it a caste-based hate crime,” she said.

Hundreds of people took to the streets on Monday, setting a police car on fire. About a dozen protesters were arrested, Singh said.

“We used force to suppress the rioters and the situation was quickly brought under control,” police chief Charonigam told reporters.

There is growing anger over casteism, Mittal said, caste-based violence Untouchables are “banned but still rampant” in India.

“According to government figures, an average of five caste hate crimes occur every hour across the country,” she said.

Riya Singh, co-founder of the Dalit Women Fight group, told Al Jazeera that the incident “reflects deep-rooted caste hatred of Dalits by the upper or major castes”.

“The hatred is still so strong that it even extends to young children and eventually kills them,” she said.

Singh said the country should accept that caste bias exists and that people are using crime and violence to justify their caste bias. “Only by acknowledging this can we move forward,” she said.

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