A video clip of a Hindu teacher subjecting a seven-year-old Muslim student to degradation and torture, circulating on social media, has sparked outrage in India.
According to a report published in The Indian Express, the incident took place at the Neha Public School in the Khubbapur village of Muzaffarnagar. The teacher in question, who also owns the school, has been identified as Tripta Tyagi.
In the viral clip, Tyagi could be heard ordering the children in class to slap the Muslim boy one by one as he bursts into tears. She could also be heard making Islamophobic remarks.
“I have declared that all Muslim children should go [away],” the teacher can be heard saying in the video.
At one point during the video, Tyagi also asked students to slap the victim “harder” and told them to hit him on the waist as his face was getting red.
Talking to reporters, the victim’s father said he won’t send his child to the school, adding that “a settlement has been reached that no complaint would be filed” and “they will return the fee that I have submitted”.
Separately, the seven-year-old’s mother, Rubina, told Al Jazeera that her son was “traumatised”.
It quoted her as saying that the teacher reportedly had a habit of getting students slapped by their classmates and a similar incident had occurred with another student a few days ago.
The boy’s father, on the other hand, told Al Jazeera that the ill-treatment of his son was the result of “hate that is being spread against Muslims in the country”.
Taking notice of the incident, Muzaffarnagar Superintendent of Police Satyanarayan Prajapat told The Indian Express: “Mansurpur police station received a video wherein a woman teacher was ordering students of a class to beat a child for not learning multiplication tables.
“There were some objectionable comments too. When we investigated, we found that the woman was ‘declaring’ in the video that Mohammedan students get spoiled when their mothers don’t pay attention to their studies. The basic education officer has been informed and departmental action will be taken against the teacher.”
Khatauli Circle Officer Dr Ravi Shankar said the police were trying to convince the victim’s father to file a complaint against the teacher. “After that, we would be able to file an FIR. Further legal action is being taken,” The Indian Express quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, Muzaffarnagar education officer Shubham Shukla said a letter was sent to the school and a response was sought over the incident.
“We will investigate what standards the school is following and if any irregularities are found, action will be taken. It is clear in the video that the teacher is instigating the children to beat a child… the school received affiliation in 2019; we will check if it was renewed and if the school was being run as per standards set by the government,” he told the Indian publication.
India’s National Commission for Protection of Child Rights also said that it had taken note of what happened and intended to take legal action. It also requested people not to share the video on social media.
Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Congress leader Rahul Gandhi blamed India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the incident.
“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,” he said.
Indian social activist Shabnam Hashmi called on the Indian president to ensure that the teacher was identified and action was taken against her.
“There can be nothing more dangerous than a blatant call to students to hit the Muslim student. This is a national shame and I hope the Supreme Court will also take suo moto action against this atrocity,” she said on X.
Former diplomat Shashi Tharoor said,“ All Indians must hang our heads in shame that this is what all our constitutional rights and freedoms can be reduced to.“
Duke University professor Timur Khan termed the incident cruel, inhumane and illegal under Indian laws.
“The teacher should be fired, and then prosecuted for orchestrating violence against a child under her custody,” he demanded.