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Indian teacher asking students to slap Muslim kid sparks outrage

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Indian teacher asking students to slap Muslim kid sparks outrage

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A viral video on social media caught the attention of international news outlets on Saturday highlighting acute discrimination faced by religious minorities in India.

A school teacher in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, could be seen in the video subjecting a seven-year-old Muslim student to degrading treatment.

The video, which surfaced on Friday, showed Trapta Tyagi, a primary school teacher asking for a Muslim student to be evicted due to his religion and asking his classmates to slap him.

A male voice could be heard in the background agreeing with the teacher.

“I have declared that all Muslim children should go,” Tyagi is heard saying in the video.

“You are correct, it ruins the education,” the male is heard saying as the victim stands in front of the class, wailing and terrified.

Muslims constitute approximately a fifth of the 235 million population of Uttar Pradesh.

The parents of the seven-year-old, Mohammad Altamash, told Al Jazeera that the incident took place on Thursday in Neha Public School in Kubbapur village, 30km (19 miles) from Muzaffarnagar town.

“Yesterday, my son came home crying,” Rubina, his mother, said. “He was traumatised. This is not how you treat kids.”

According to his father Mohammad Irshad, the teacher “asked them [classmates] to slap my son one by one”.

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“The teacher justified her actions by saying my son did not memorise his lessons.

“My son is good at his studies. He takes tuition. We fail to understand why the teacher treated him like this. It seems that the teacher is filled with hate,” the 42-year-old added.

Police in India have asked social media users not to share the video, prompting various users to remove it from their accounts.

Irshad, a farmer, said that the ill-treatment of his son was the result of “hate that is being spread against Muslims in the country”, illustrated by the teacher’s comments heard in the video.

Rubina added that the teacher reportedly had a habit of getting students slapped by their classmates. She added that just a few days ago, another student from their family was subjected to similar treatment after he failed to memorise his lessons.

A police officer said a case will be filed after recording the statement of the child and the parents.

The school in question has students from the Hindu and Muslim communities in the area.

Irshad said that, although the teacher accepted her mistake and apologised for her behaviour, he will move his son to a different school.

“She said she will never treat her students badly again,” he said. “But this is not the environment where I want my son to get an education and grow up in.”

As the video went viral, it sparked outrage on social media, with many pointing out the growing Islamophobia in schools.

“A generation is growing up in a society that has normalised hostility and hate,” Nazia Erum, author of, Mothering a Muslim, told Al Jazeera.

She blamed the media and the state of politics for the growing hate in the country which she said “aims to only keep the minority Muslim population in negative light constantly”.



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