A teacher in India is being investigated by authorities after a video of her encouraging students to slap their seven-year-old Muslim classmate surfaced on social media, sparking outrage across the country.
Outrage in India over video of teacher telling kids to slap Muslim student https://t.co/q5FEuaHtkP
— Samar Halarnkar (@samar11) August 26, 2023
The family of the seven-year-old Muslim pupil, Mohammad Altamash, filed a first information report (FIR) against his teacher, identified as Tripta Tyagi, after footage of Tyagi pushing Altamash’s fellow students to slap him went viral on social media.
Altamash’s family initially hesitated to complain due to fears they would not be heard, but they took action after outrage over the incident grew. The report accuses Tyagi of violating Sections 323 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code.
The incident occurred in the Neha Public School in the Muzaffarnagar district in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, on the morning of August 24. In the video, Altamash was anxious while standing before Tyagi and his classmates as the teacher called on other students to hit him.
— Mohammed Zubair (@zoo_bear) August 25, 2023
The boy cried while his classmates took turns slapping him, while Tyagi was heard telling the students to do it “properly.” A man can also be heard laughing in the video while the students continued slapping Altamash.
Tyagi was also heard making anti-Muslim remarks, declaring “that all Muslim children should go” and adding that Muslim children “should be beaten up,” while the man in the background agreed with the teacher and said, “You are correct, it ruins the education.”
Satyanarayan Prajapat, the police superintendent of Muzaffarnagar, said Tyagi told the students to slap Altamash “for not remembering his times tables” and added that she kept referencing his Muslim faith.
“The female teacher declared: ‘When the mothers of Mohammedan (one who follows Islam) students don’t pay attention to their children’s studies, their performance is ruined,” Prajapat said.
Shameful & sickening.
No child anywhere should be subjected to such cruelty. The teacher should be fired & face the law - this is child abuse.
— fifi_w (@fifi_wm) August 25, 2023
Altamash’s parents narrated how the incident severely traumatized him, with his mother, Rubina, saying he came home crying after class. His father, Mohammad Irshad, noted that the boy felt “restless and scared” after the incident, adding that Altamash “was unable to sleep earlier and was left in shock,” although he is recovering. Because of the incident, Neha Public School was ordered to shut down, while the boy has been admitted to another school.
Tyagi claimed that the incident had nothing to do with religion, and the boy’s father asked her to be strict towards him, but because she was disabled, she asked other students to discipline him.
“His father brought the child in and said to straighten him out. Now, because I can’t get up, I thought I’d get one or two children to hit him,” Tyagi said.
But Mohammad Irshad disputed Tyagi’s statements, saying that his son “is good at his studies. He takes tuitions. We fail to understand why the teacher treated him like this. It seems that the teacher is filled with hate.”
Teacher must be dismissed from service immediately.
— Fersos Daruwala (@goldchest4) August 26, 2023
Many opposition politicians criticized the incident, with Rahul Gandhi, leader of the opposition Indian National Congress, accusing Tyagi of “sowing the poison of discrimination in the minds of innocent children.”
“Turning a holy place like school into a marketplace of hatred – there is nothing worse than this that a teacher can do for the country.” Gandhi wrote on X, previously known as Twitter.
He also blamed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for stoking intolerance and violence against religious minorities in India.
Why was it deleted so fast? Becos it was meant to grab attention, foment hate against PM Modi in India, and enrage international against India.
Video was deleted very fast so it's creators will not be traced.
The cabal is busy making new videos on victimhood.
— Chillout (@Chilloutppl) August 26, 2023
“This is the same kerosene spread by the BJP, which has set every corner of India on fire,” Gandhi said. “Children are the future of India - do not hate them, we all have to teach love together.”
Although the BJP has not responded to Gandhi’s comments, it insisted that the right-wing Hindu nationalist party does not discriminate against minorities and “treats all its citizens with equality.”