Two teachers in a government-aided school in south India have been arrested after one of them allegedly proposed a class eight student with a rose on Valentine's Day (14 February).
Along with M Nirmal Premkumar, 43, his colleague S Lawrence, 31, was also placed in custody for alleged abetment after the latter reportedly threatened the student when she turned down the proposal.
According to the police, Premkumar who was teaching the girl's class presented her with a rose and expressed his love for her in front of other students.
The girl initially refused to take the rose but Premkumar allegedly forced the flower into her hand, the Times of India newspaper reported.
After the alleged incident, the girl avoided interaction with the teacher for the rest of the day, but Premkumar reportedly sought the help of Lawrence.
According to police, Lawrence, a physical education teacher at the school in Chinna Salem in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu, tried to convince the girl to accept the proposal.
When she did not listen to him, he allegedly threatened her by saying that she may not be able to continue her studies if she rejected the proposal and even told her not to talk about the incident to anyone.
The alleged incident came to light after the girl's parents saw her crying and upon asking, she narrated the incident.
Her parents and relatives staged a protest in front of the school, demanding immediate suspension and arrest of the teachers. They later lodged a complaint with the district education officials and the all-women police.
"The education department on Monday ordered a probe into the incident and placed secondary grade teacher (Premkumar) and physical education teacher (Lawrence) under suspension pending inquiries," a district-level education official said, according to the newspaper.
Premkumar was booked for alleged sexual harassment, while Lawrence was charged with alleged abetment.
The two were produced before a judicial magistrate who placed them in judicial custody.