Thirty-four boys aged 12 to 14 ran away from a Punjab boarding school after allegedly being made to cut the grass for two hours a day and eat rotting food.
The pupils of Jawahar Navodya Vidyalaya were found a few days later by parents when one of the boys contacted his home. They had been staying at a religious retreat half a day's train journey away. The boys said they had hitched a ride from their hostel, walked 25 kilometres to the nearest station and boarded a train. They added that their protests about mistreatment had been ignored by the school authorities.
They told police that teachers beat them, abused them and made them do personal chores. Principal Harjinder Kaur assured angry parents that she would end any malpractices. The Navodya schools are state schools for bright students from poor families.