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Kota: Three Muslim Govt School Teachers Suspended Over 'Forced Religious Conversion' of Students

The suspension of teachers came soon after a local Hindu right-wing organisation submitted a memorandum listing out their allegations against teachers concerned to state's education minister Madan Dilawar.
Photo: Ankita Konwar/Unsplash

New Delhi: Three Muslim teachers of Government Senior Secondary in Khajuri village of Rajasthan’s Kota district have been suspended after a local Hindu right-wing in a memorandum submitted to the state’s education minister, Madan Dilawar, accused them of “forced religious conversion” and “Love Jihad”.

Firoz Khan, Mirza Mujahid, and Shabana were suspended immediately after the right-wing organisation in question, Sarva Hindu Samaj, submitted a memorandum to Dilawar. The memorandum alleges that the teachers concerned have been coercing students at the school to comvert to Islam.

According to the Hindutva organisation, a Hindu girl named Muskan was recorded as Muslim in school documents in 2019. Allegedly, she was kidnapped by Muslim students earlier that year and has remained untraceable. However, The Wire investigated and found that Muskan herself stated in an affidavit that she erroneously marked her religion as Muslim on her 10th-grade application form when she enrolled herself in 2019.

On February 22, Firoz Khan, Mirza Mujahid, and Shabana received notifications of their suspension via WhatsApp. Mirza Mujahid, who has taught at the school for eight years, expressed dismay over the lack of fact-checking prior to their suspension.

Firoz Khan joined the school five years ago, while Shabana had only been there for three months and claimed no knowledge of Muskan.

Currently, there are 265 students enrolled in the school, alongside 15 faculty members, including three who are Muslim. “To those questioning us, I urge them to inquire about the other 12 Hindu faculty members regarding our conduct. We are being singled out solely because we belong to the Muslim community,” said Firoz Khan.

In a video message, Dilawar emphasised his stance against religious conversion and vowed to dismiss teachers found guilty after further investigation.

The Wire also reached out to Dilawar to inquire whether the action taken had undergone a thorough investigation and yielded conclusive evidence against the faculty members. Dilawar’s spokesperson, Prapat Singh Tomar, affirmed that the action was indeed taken following a comprehensive investigation.

Upon further inquiry about the nature of the investigation, this reporter asked, “What constituted the proper investigation?” Tomar responded, “We initiated action against these faculty members after the registration of an FIR against them and upon receipt of a comprehensive report.”

When pressed about the contents of the FIR, Tomar replied, “I do not have that information, but given that the girl’s Transfer Certificate indicates her religion as Muslim, it suggests the involvement of a teacher.”

Questioning how all three faculty members could be implicated in the matter, the reporter proposed the possibility of one or more individuals beyond the three mentioned. Tomar reiterated, “Only these three were involved, and our actions were based on the FIR and a thorough investigation.”

Muskan’s father, Balram Gaur, attributed his daughter’s elopement to the school’s alleged misrepresentation of her religion.

An internal inquiry by the school administration exonerated the suspended teachers, while school records do not corroborate the right wing group’s claims of previous incidents.

The Wire also contacted the district education officer and DSP Rajulal to inquire about any registered FIRs regarding the matter and what action has been taken so far. While Rajulal declined to respond, K.K. Sharma, the district education officer of Kota, stated that those three teachers were suspended based on the initial findings by his team. “We are currently conducting further investigation into the issue,” he added.

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