A schoolteacher in Uttar Pradesh faces charges after she was seen ordering her students to slap their Muslim classmate in a viral video that has triggered widespread outrage.
In the disturbing video from a school in Muzaffarnagar, the boy stands helplessly, tears streaming down his face, while the teacher, Tripta Tyagi – she is also the principal – makes communal remarks and eggs on other students to slap him for not doing his homework.
“I have declared it – all Muslim children should be beaten,” says the principal of Neha Public School to someone not on camera. The incident took place on Thursday.
Loud slaps are heard as the students follow their teacher’s instruction. “Why don’t you hit harder? Whose turn is it?” she says in the wrenching video.
The boy was forced to stand for hours, humiliated and beaten, his father told the police.
“My son is seven. The teacher had my child beaten up repeatedly by students. My nephew made the video, he had gone to school for some work… My seven-year-old was tortured for an hour or two. He is scared. This is not a Hindu-Muslim issue. We want the law to take its own course,” said the boy’s father.
The child is in shock, he said.
The family didn’t report the crime earlier. When the video went viral, the police registered a case.
“We have done a full investigation. On the complaint of the child’s father, we have registered a case against the accused teacher, departmental action is also being taken against the teacher. Counselling of the child and his family is also being done,” said Arvind Mallappa, District Magistrate, Muzaffarnagar.
A senior police officer claimed after a probe, they had established that the teacher had said, “the mothers of those Muslim children who do not pay attention to the studies of their wards, their academics get totally destroyed.”
The accused principal sought to defend her egregious act and also claimed the video was edited.
“We live in Hindu-Muslim harmony. Many students in our school are Muslims. That child did not bring his homework that day, I said in the video that Muhammedan mothers should not take their children to their maternal uncle’s house as exams are approaching. But they made this video,” Tripta Tyagi claimed.
“There was pressure from the child’s parents to be strict with him. I am handicapped, so I made some students slap him up so that he would start doing his homework,” she said, calling it a “minor issue”.
“This wasn’t my intention. They all are like my kids and I am accepting my mistake, but this was unnecessarily turned into a big issue. I want to tell politicians that this was a small matter. Leaders like Rahul Gandhi have tweeted, but it was not such a big thing to tweet about. How will teachers teach if daily issues like these are made viral?” she said.
The incident provoked a political furore with the Congress targeting Uttar Pradesh’s ruling BJP. UP’s Deputy Chief Minister Brijesh Pathak said: “We have taken cognizance and full action will be taken.”
In a development on Saturday afternoon, farmer leader Naresh Tikait claimed he had brokered a compromise in the interest of communal harmony.