Seven pupils drink lice poison

INDIA - Seven female pupils at Poikaikaraipatti Middle School in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, consumed lice poison, claiming that they could no longer bear the physical punishments meted out by their headmistress.

Tamil Nesan reported that the girls, aged between 11 and 12, alleged that the headmistress had scolded and beat them in front of their classmates for coming late to school on Thursday.

Police said the students then left the school without informing anyone and purchased lice poison from a shop in the village. Then, they went to an isolated place and consumed it.

The girls later returned to their classroom but fainted. The school called for an ambulance and took the students to Government Rajaji Hospital. Doctors said that some of the girls were in critical condition.

One of the girls' parents, Amutha, accused the headmistress of disliking the girls because they were part of a folk dance group which had to attend events outside the school.

She claimed that the headmistress had even forced the seven children to sweep the ground and prevented them from having their lunch.