A 12-year-old boy in Mumbai has been booked for the murder of his teacher, who was also his school principal. According to the police, the boy is probably the youngest to be booked under Section 302 of the IPC in the city.
The boy is alleged to have stabbed his tuition teacher at her home. Before being sent to an observation home, the boy reportedly told police that he felt humiliated when the teacher scolded him in front of two other students when he asked for money. He later allegedly said that he had been paid to kill her.
As per law, a child between seven and 12 years has partial defence from criminal liability, and the prosecution has to establish that the child knew that the act was wrong and he would have to face the consequences.
The deceased lived alone after she divorced her husband three years ago. Her four-year-old son lives with his father.
The police said that around 8.30 pm on Monday, the boy went to the teacher’s home — located around 200 m away from his house — with a knife. After she allowed him in, he sat on a sofa and as soon as she turned, stabbed her on the back. She raised an alarm and started calling for her stepmother, who lived opposite to her house.
The police said that when the stepmother and other family members arrived at the house, the boy was still there. After the teacher was rushed to a hospital, the boy’s mother — who was informed about the incident by local children — arrived and took him home. The police later went to the boy’s home and took him away for questioning.
“She just kept saying give me water. We tried asking her who did this to her, but she wouldn’t respond,” said the younger sister of the deceased. The teacher passed away at the hospital.
The teacher’s father had been stabbed to death at the same spot in 2010, resulting in the arrest of a neighbour. The police said there was no link between the two cases.
The family members suspect someone else is behind the murder. “How is it possible that she was murdered at the same spot as my father? We do not even know this boy. One by one, they are killing everyone for our property,” the sister alleged.
Her mother added: “My daughter spoke good English and helped so many children here who were not faring well. This is a poor locality and many could not afford to pay her so she taught some for free.”
She added that the deceased was the principal of a local school and lived next to it.
A police officer said: “The boy seemed confident and answered our questions calmly. He confessed to the murder.” The boy allegedly first told the police that his mother had asked him to get Rs 2,000 from the teacher as she had helped them financially in the past.
“After school, he met the teacher outside and asked for money. He claimed that she shouted at him in front of two other students. He allegedly felt embarrassed and decided to get back at her,” said an officer.
However, later in the day, the boy allegedly told the police that he was paid by someone to murder the teacher. “
He said a person had paid him Rs 1,000 to kill her and promised to pay another Rs 5,000 later on. He also said that he has spent the Rs 1,000 by purchasing burgers and playing video games with two friends. He has given us the name of the person who paid him and the shops where he spent the money.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, the boy’s father said, “I am at a loss for words. We never asked him to get money. He is a fantastic student. In fact, when we stopped sending him to the teacher for tuitions, as we didn’t have money, she asked us to stop worrying about money and send him for tutions.”
With inputs from Sadaf Modak