A 10-year-old boy allegedly took his own life by setting himself on fire after being “chided” by his teacher for his inability to write Tamil properly, police said on Sunday.

According to police, the incident happened at Tiruvallore on Friday last week. Antony Pratheesh, a class-V student in a government school in the town, took the extreme step after being scolded by a teacher. The teacher had allegedly threatened to demote him to class IV if he continued with his poor show.

After returning from school, the boy narrated the incident to his mother and when she was not at home, set himself ablaze after pouring kerosene, Tiruvallore SP M. C. Sarangan said.

Neighbours rushed the boy to the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital in Chenani with 80 per cent burns where he succumbed to the injuries, he said.

The teacher had been arrested following a complaint from Pratheesh’s mother on charge of “abetment of suicide,” Mr. Sarangan said.

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