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UP Teacher Forces Fellow Students to Slap Muslim Child; Don't Circulate Video, Says NCPCR

'I have declared that all those Muslim children should be…(inaudible),' the teacher, can be heard saying in the 40-second-long viral video.
Representational image. Citizens hold placards during a silent protest

New Delhi: A video from a school in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar where a teacher is seen egging on classmates to slap an eight-year-old Muslim child has gone viral. Several students slap the child, who is seen crying in the 40-second video. At one point, the teacher even scolds a student for not hitting him hard enough.

“I have declared that all those Mohammadan [i.e. Muslim] children should be…(inaudible),” Tripta Tyagi, the teacher, can be heard saying in the 40-second-long video.

Reacting to the video, DSP Ravi Shankar told the media that the viral video is from a home-run school in the Khubbapur village near the Mansoorpur station area and it is being investigated by the local police. “Preliminary investigation has revealed that a female teacher made some children assault another child for not completing his school work while inflammatory remarks are being made,” he said.

In another statement, Satyanarayan Prajapat, an additional SP, said that while investigating the inflammatory remark, the police learnt from the principal that the female teacher had said that those “Mohammadan students whose mothers do not pay attention to their education, their education will be destroyed”. The official concerned said that this was confirmed by the person recording the video.

Meanwhile, Basic Siksha Adhikari Shubham Shukla said action would taken against the teacher seen in the video and the one provoking her. Action will also be taken against the school management, he told reporters in Muzaffarnagar.

The Wire reached out to Irshad, the father of the eight-year-old student who was slapped. The father is a farmer. 

At around 9 am on August 24, the child was reportedly subjected to assault by other students at the behest of the teacher. Sources close to the child told The Wire that he was assaulted while the teacher said that “Mohammedans should be beaten up”.

Earlier, the child’s cousin was reportedly assaulted in the school and when Irshad got to know about it, he paid no heed because it is common in schools. He said, “I have no issue with the teacher disciplining the child, but this is wrong.” When Irshad confronted the teacher, she allegedly threatened him. “Then I decided to cancel my child’s admission and have stopped sending him to the school,” he said.

After the video went viral, the teacher is said to have ‘apologised’ to Irshad and promised that it won’t be repeated. Irshad reportedly agreed to not take the matter any further. Initially, he said that he didn’t want to pursue the matter because he felt that he wouldn’t be heard properly and the controversy might vitiate communal harmony. However, as outrage against the actions of the teacher grew louder on social media, Irshad decided to take legal action. “I don’t want this to be repeated with anyone else’s child,” he said.

The head of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, NCPCR, Priyank Kanungo stressed that the video should not be circulated. 

Reacting to the viral video, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “Sowing the poison of discrimination in the minds of innocent children, turning a holy place like school into a marketplace of hatred – nothing worse a teacher can do for the country. This is the same kerosene spread by the BJP which has set every corner of India on fire. Children are the future of India – do not hate them, we all have to teach love together.”

Jayant Singh, Rajya Sabha MP and Rashtriya Lok Dal leader, said the “Muzaffarnagar school video is a painful warning of how deep-rooted religious divides can trigger violence against the marginalised, minority communities. Our MLAs from Muzzafarnagar will ensure that UP Police files a case suomoto & the child’s education is not disrupted!”

Incidentally, the Supreme Court in February this year pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for its reluctance to register a criminal case for robbery and hate crime on the complaint of a senior citizen who alleged that he was abused because of his religion. 

The court said it was the most fundamental duty of a secular state to protect its citizens irrespective of their religious beliefs. A bench of Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice B.V. Nagarathna said there was a lack of will on the part of the state to prosecute culprits. The court observed that the state police instead of acknowledging the problem tried to “sweep it under the carpet”.

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