police in India A teacher is being investigated after a video of her encouraging her students to slap her 7-year-old classmate, who is Muslim, sparked widespread outrage across the country.
Video of the incident, which took place in the Muzaffarnagar district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, shows the boy standing fearfully in front of his classmates as the teacher calls on the students to hit him.
The boy cries as his classmates take turns slapping him, while the teacher is heard telling the students to do “good.” A man can be heard laughing as the boy cries as the slapping continues.
Muzaffarnagar Police Superintendent Satyanarayan Prajapat said on Friday the teacher told the students to beat the boy “for not remembering his multiplication tables.”
The teacher also made reference to the boy’s religion, according to Prajapat.
“The teacher stated: ‘When the mothers of Mohammedan students (those who follow Islam) do not pay attention to their children’s studies, their performance is ruined,” she said.
The district police have registered a case against the teacher and an investigation is underway. The teacher has not been formally charged. District officials also ordered the school closed, according to CNN affiliate CNN News-18.
CNN has reached out to Uttar Pradesh Police officials for more details.
The incident has caused widespread anger and unrest in India, the world’s largest democracy with 1.4 billion people, where the Hindu nationalist policies of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have deepened the communal tensions and created what human rights groups and government critics say is an atmosphere of fear and alienation among minority groups.
Leading opposition politician Rahul Gandhi accused the teacher of “sowing the poison of discrimination in the minds of innocent children.” Writing on Twitter, now known as X, he said: “Turning a holy place like school into a hate market: there is nothing worse than this that a teacher can do for the country.”
Gandhi also blamed the BJP for stoking religious intolerance.
“This is the same kerosene spread by the BJP that has set fire to every corner of India,” Gandhi wrote. “Children are the future of India, don’t hate them, we all have to teach love together.”
While the BJP has not responded to Gandhi’s comments, it has long maintained that it does not discriminate against minorities and “treats all its citizens equally.” During a trip to the United States in June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told reporters that there was “absolutely no room” for discrimination in India.
Indian law does not have a legal definition of corporal punishment directed at children; however, physical punishment and mental harassment are prohibited by the country’s law. Law on the right of children to free and compulsory education.
According to CNN News-18, the teacher claimed that the 7-year-old’s father had asked her to punish the boy, adding that she couldn’t do it because she was disabled and therefore had told the other students that she would. they will discipline
“His father brought the boy and told him to fix it. Now, since I can’t get up, I thought I’d ask one or two kids to hit him,” he said.
The incident comes at a time of heightened communal tensions in the country, as the BJP’s popular but divisive policies gain momentum in India.
A study by economist Deepankar Basu noted a 786% increase in hate crimes against all minorities between 2014 and 2018, following the BJP’s electoral victory.
Uttar Pradesh, where the incident took place, is the largest state in India, with some 200 million people. It has a religiously diverse population, where around 20% of its residents are Muslim.
However, it remains one of the most polarized states in India.
Your Prime Minister, Hindu monk turned BJP politician Yogi Adityanathhe has come under fire for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and Hindu-first policies, and the state has passed legislation critics say has its roots in “Hindutva,” the ideological foundation of Hindu nationalism.