Tuesday, October 3, 2023

UP teacher asks students to slap Muslim boy in class

Opposition slams BJP over ‘hate politics’

As outrage poured in from all quarters, including political parties, police on Saturday booked the Muzaffarnagar schoolteacher accused of making communal comments and ordering her students to slap a Muslim classmate for not doing his homework.

The school was also served a notice by the education department in connection with the matter. The teacher, Tripta Tyagi, was booked on the complaint of the boy’s family under IPC sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) — both non-cognisable offences. Such offences are bailable and do not lead to immediate arrest, and require a warrant.

The action comes a day after a video showed her asking her students to slap the Class 2 boy at Neha Public School in Khubbapur village and also making a communal remark. The video elicited strong words from several political leaders with National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the apex child rights body, demanding action against the accused teacher. In her defence, Tyagi has said the video has been tampered with in order to stoke tensions. She claimed that the video was shot by an uncle of the boy.

Tyagi said though it was wrong on her part to get a student slapped by his classmates, she was forced to do it as she is handicapped and was not able to stand up and reach the student who had not done his assignment.
Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) of Muzaffarnagar Shubham Shukla said a showcause notice has been served to the school management through the secretary of the management committee, Ravinder Tyagi.

It has been asked to furnish its response by August 28 as to why the school’s government recognition not be cancelled. A criminal case will be registered against the authorities of the school where the incident took place, the BSA said, adding that a team has been sent there.

The matter snowballed into a fray between the BJP and the opposition parties, many of which alleged that it was the ruling party’s “politics of hate” that prepared the ground for such an incident to happen.
The NCPCR on Saturday said it wrote to the district administration and the Uttar Pradesh Police to file an FIR in the matter.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, in a post on X on Friday, condemned the incident, saying a teacher could do no worse for the country as he accused the BJP of filling people’s minds with poison. “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 – we all have to teach them love not hatred,” he said.

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge slammed the BJP for its “divisive thinking” and said “such incidents tarnish our global image”. TMC leader Derek O’Brien asked why the teacher was booked “under weak sections”.
“They have charged the Neha Public School teacher with ‘mischief’. What’s going on?,” he asked in a video message posted on X.

The Samajwadi Party alleged that it was the “politics of hate” of the BJP and the RSS that had brought the country to such a pass where a teacher can ask her students to slap a boy from a minority community over his religion. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav too demanded the teacher be sacked immediately and called her a “blot on teacher society”.

Harishchandra Srivastava, a BJP spokesperson, termed Yadav’s post on X a political agenda. “The tweet made by Akhilesh Yadav regarding the Muzaffarnagar school incident is superficial politics and a disgusting political agenda to create disharmony in the society.

“We all in our student life have been punished by the teacher in school for not remembering tables, not correcting maths questions or not having good writing, and this is a natural process of improving discipline and talent in students,” he said.

Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Chaudhary spoke to the father of the victim and assured him of justice.
The BJP’s Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi, in a post on X, said the incident was shameful.

“The feeling of hatred towards a child in the temple of knowledge has made the whole country hang its head in shame. A teacher is a gardener who not only builds a personality but also a nation by putting fertiliser in the form of knowledge in the primary rites.

“So the expectations from a teacher are high beyond dirty politics. It is a question of the future of the country,” he said. Leaders of different political and non-political organisations, including Bharatiya Kisan Union chief Naresh Tikait, Uttar Pradesh Imam Organisation chief Mufti Zulfikar Ali, the vice-president of UP Jamiat-e-ulema Hind Maulana Nazer Muhammad and a Congress fact-finding committee led by district unit president Subodh Sharma, visited the boy’s family at Khubbapur on Saturday.

Prominent Muslim organisation Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, in a letter to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani and others, called for stringent legal action against the teacher.
“I urge you to address the aforementioned incident and initiate legal proceedings against the perpetrator under the Child Rights, Human Rights, Educational Rights, and Prevention of Bias Acts. Furthermore, I request you to promptly instruct the concerned district administration to refrain from attempting to downplay this grave matter,” Jamiat chief Maulana Mahmood Madani said in his letter.

Such reprehensible actions not only contravene the core principles of education but also perpetuate bias and hatred that have no place in a just and inclusive society, he said.
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said on X, “Indian Muslims are facing the same persecution & discrimination as Jews faced in the 1930s, will it lead to Kristallnacht? Hope not.”

He spoke to the boy’s father and said the family did not eat for two days. Owaisi also said the video “is a product of the last 9 years”. “The message being drilled into the minds of little children is that one can beat up and humiliate a Muslim without any repercussions.

“The father of the child has withdrawn his kid from school and given in writing that he doesn’t want to pursue the matter because he knows he won’t get justice and instead it might vitiate the ‘atmosphere’,” he said.
Circle Officer Ravi Shankar on Friday said prima facie it emerged that the student was beaten up for not completing the school work and there was nothing objectionable in it.

In a letter, the NCPCR asked the Muzaffarnagar district magistrate to provide relevant details about the school where the incident happened.

NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo also urged people on X not to reveal the identity of the victim boy by sharing the video which showed him being slapped by his classmates.



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