09, Oct 2023 | CJP Team
With the nation recovering from the horrifying viral video that depicted a teacher ordering her students to beat a Muslim student rang through, another such horrifying incident has come to light from the Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh. The private school teacher has been arrested by the UP Police for allegedly instructing a Muslim student to slap a ten-year old Hindu classmate. This incident has led to the registration of a case under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 153-A (promoting enmity between different sections on the basis of religion) of the IPC. The complaint was filed by the victim’s father, who has clearly asserted that his Class 5 son was slapped by another student under the teacher’s orders.
The incident unfolded at a private school situated in Dugawar village within Sambhal district, and it is alleged that the teacher, reportedly called Shaista, reportedly attempted to incite communal sentiments. This incident reminds us of the very recent incident in Muzaffarnagar’s Khubbapur village, where another private school teacher, Tripta Tyagi, faced similar allegations. In that instance, Tyagi was accused of orchestrating the repeated slapping of a Muslim boy by his Hindu classmates for failing to finish his homework. The incident had drawn widespread attention and condemnation after a video of the incident went viral on social media platforms. In the viral video, distressing scenes depicted students taking turns to slap the Muslim student, who stood in front of the classroom in tears. Tyagi in her defence had maintained that the video had been tampered with and she asserted that she had merely fulfilled her responsibilities as a teacher, explaining that her disability prevented her from intervening physically. The matter reached the Supreme Court’s attention, which, on September 25th, expressed concern over the Uttar Pradesh government’s handling of the case in Muzaffarnagar. The court also highlighted the need for education to remain free of discrimination and furthermore, the court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to appoint a senior IPS officer within a week to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the Muzaffarnagar incident. The court also directed the state government to conduct counselling by trained professionals of the child as well as other students.
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According to details in the FIR of the case in Sambhal obtained by The Quint, the father of the 10-year-old student has lodged a formal complaint. In the complaint, he alleges that his son, a fifth-grade student, was subjected to a slap by another student, of Muslim faith, at the direction of their teacher. According to The Quint, the father has stated that the school teacher had posed a question to his son and there onwards, when the son was unable to provide an answer, the teacher instructed one of the other students to slap his son in front of the entire class. The child then returned home and narrated the incident to his parents. His father has reportedly stated in the complaint his son felt humiliated and upset, and that the incident had hurt their religious feelings.
With investigations being underway in both issues, this really poses larger questions as to what a free and fair education looks like in a democratic state. If children do not feel safe and free of discrimination in the early levels of schooling, it would serve to further discourage students and their families from attaining education.