A teacher in a private school in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, instructed children in her classroom to hit a student one by one, referred to his Muslim faith, and talked pejoratively about “Mohammedan children” – ostensibly because he got his multiplication tables wrong.
Officials said the incident took place on Thursday in Khubbapur village under the jurisdiction of Mansurpur police station. Both the police and the education authorities are exploring action against the teacher, Tripta Tyagi, as well as Neha Public School, which she owns and where the incident occurred.
In the video, ordered by Tyagi, children walk up to him and slap the boy, who is in tears.
Tyagi is heard saying to a man off camera: “Maine toh declare kar diya, jitne bhi Mohammedan bachche hain, inke wahan chale jao (I have declared – all these Muslim children, go to anyone’s area)…” She then trails off as the man appears to agree.
Then, as one child sits down after hitting the boy, Tyagi tells him: “Kya tum maar rahe ho? Zor se maaro na (Why are you hitting him so lightly? Hit him hard).”
She then asks, “Chalo aur kiska number hai (Whose turn is it)?”
As the boy cries, Tyagi says: “Abki baar kamar pe maaro… chalo… muh pe na maaro ab muh laal ho raha hai… kamar pe maaro saare (Start hitting him on the waist… His face is turning red, hit him on the waist instead).”
Tyagi was unavailable for comment.
In a statement, Satyanarayan Prajapat, Superintendent of Police (City), Muzaffarnagar, said: “Today, 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.”
When contacted, Khatauli Circle Officer Dr Ravi Shankar said the school was being run in a big hall and the accused teacher is also the owner. “Tripta Tyagi is the head of the school. We are trying to convince the child’s father to file a complaint; after that we would be able to file an FIR. Further legal action is being taken.”
The victim’s father told local reporters that he won’t send his child to the school nor is he planning to file a case. “I will not send my child to that school again and they will return the fee that I have submitted. A settlement has been reached that no complaint would be filed. The teacher has created animosity between the children,” said the boy’s father.
The basic education officer of Muzaffarnagar, Shubham Shukla, told The Indian Express said he has written a letter to the management of the school and sought their response.
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“The school is registered under the name Neha Public School for classes 1 to 5. We will investigate what standards the school is following and if any irregularities are found, action will be taken,” he said. “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.”
Flagging the incident, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted in Hindi: “Sowing the poison of discrimination in the minds of innocent children, turning a holy place like a school into a marketplace of hatred — nothing worse a teacher can do for the country. This is the same kerosene spread by the BJP that has set every corner of India on fire. Children are the future of India — we all have to teach them love, not hate.”
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights also took note of the matter. “We received information that in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar, an incident has been reported where a teacher is asking children to beat a child. Taking cognizance, instructions are being issued for action. Everyone is requested not to share the video of the child, give information about such incidents by email, do not become a part of the crime by revealing the identity of the children,” said Priyank Kanoongo, the commission’s chairperson.