The video capturing a distressing incident where a young Muslim child is beaten by his classmates at the instigation and “instructions” of his teacher at Neha Public School in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar has shocked the country.
The ghastly incident has even caught the attention of international media outlets like Al Jazeera and TRT World. In the footage, now viral, a teacher is seen encouraging communal hatred among her students by urging a Hindu children to physically assault a Muslim peer. The young boy stands frozen, close to tears, while the disturbing incident unfolds before the camera. The incident, which occurred on August 24, has ignited calls for legal intervention to ensure accountability and prevent future occurrences. All day, Saturday, August 26 the hashtags, #NehaPublicSchool and #ArrestTriptaTyagi were trending on the social media platform, twitter (X).
The teacher, identified as Tripta Tyagi, is seen saying “Kya tum maar rahe ho iske. Zor se maaro, aur kiska number hai.” (What are you doing, why are you not beating him harder? Alright, who is next in line?).
The attitude of the teacher, Tripta Tyagi who asked a Hindu student to slap a ‘Mohammedan child’ for not memorising a Math table, underlines both the prejudice and hate generated even as it also raises questions on the educational structure, entrenching social conditioning and the lack of secular teaching attitudes within classrooms.
Amid the uproar, Priyank Kanungo, Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection Of Child Rights (NCPCR), took to social media, urging people not to share the video.
उत्तरप्रदेश के मुज़फ़्फ़रनगर में एक शिक्षिका द्वारा कक्षा में बच्चे को अन्य बच्चों से पिटवाये जाने की घटना की जानकारी मिली है।
संज्ञान ले कर कार्यवाही हेतु निर्देश जारी किए जा रहे हैं,सभी से निवेदन है कि बच्चे का वीडियो शेयर न करें इस तरह की घटना की जानकारी ईमेल द्वारा दें,बच्चों…
— प्रियंक कानूनगो Priyank Kanoongo (@KanoongoPriyank) August 25, 2023
The young boy, speaking to the media earlier today, was trembling with emotion as he recounted, “I was beaten up because I had made a mistake. I didn’t learn multiplication tables, that’s why I was slapped by my classmates. She told the children to come and hit me hard. They kept hitting me for an hour.”
His father, speaking to ANI media, decried the cruelty his child endured, stating that this is not a “mere Hindu-Muslim issue” but a matter of justice.
#WATCH | UP: “My son is seven years old. This incident happened on 24th August. The teacher made the students beat my child again & again. My nephew made the video and had gone to school for some work…My seven-year-old child was tortured for an hour or two. He is scared…This… https://t.co/qQ7FaiPbza pic.twitter.com/zEelhTdK6G
— ANI (@ANI) August 26, 2023
The teacher in question has stated, in a weak defence, after the outrage broke out that while she was wrong in having the child beaten, and that she is differently abled which is why she asked other children to beat the boy; she also alleges that the video has been tampered.
As the nation grapples with the fallout of this disturbing incident, legal actions are being pursued to address the matter. A plea filed with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by a UP based lawyer SM Haider Rizvi. The complaint argues that the incident reveals a disturbing mindset of the teacher, one that fosters animosity against a particular community. According to Live Law, the lawyer has moved NHRC seeking registration of an FIR under Sections 153A, 295A, 298, 323, 504 and 506 of the IPC.
Prominent Bharatiya Kisan Union(BKU) leader Naresh Tikait also met with the victim’s family as well the teacher earlier today, and unequivocally condemned the incident and advocated a peaceful resolution. He called for doing away the FIR and a “compromise”; he also reiterated the need to maintain unity, and stated “what happened should not happen again.” Naresh Tikait, in a much publicised public event brought the two boys together: the child who is the victim, and the other boy who was “instructed to beat him.” Both boys are seen making a tight and warm embrace as Tikait states to the media that “all was well now”. The Hindu child who had slapped Altamash in the notorious video –following the order of teacher Tripta—is seen embracing him. The question is will this sponataneous and much-needed intervention be enough to heal the schisms that are being created between communities, stigmatising and targeting Muslims?
He Said, What happened was wrong & should not be repeated.
— Hate Detector 🔍 (@HateDetectors) August 26, 2023
Authorities, including the Child Welfare Committee and Muzaffarnagar’s District Magistrate Arvind Mallappa, have stepped in to provide “counselling to the child.” Legal action is also underway, with charges registered against the teacher under relevant sections, as confirmed by Muzaffarnagar police. No reports are forthcoming on action against the teacher, though one report says that “departmental” or “administrative action will be taken.
सम्बन्धित प्रकरण में थाना मन्सूरपुर पुलिस द्वारा अध्यापिका के विरुद्ध सुसंगत धाराओं में अभियोग पंजीकृत किया जा चुका है, स्थानीय पुलिस द्वारा अग्रिम विधिक कार्यवाही की जा रही है। https://t.co/s1U9vZRT6G
— MUZAFFARNAGAR POLICE (@muzafarnagarpol) August 26, 2023
However, YouTuber, Deepak Sharma claims that are varying reports coming from the ground, one of which includes that there is pressure on the father of the child to not let the matter get any further traction. Notably, in his only statement to media Irshad, the father, has clarified that he has given in writing to the police that he will not press charges. A local journalist from ground zero, who is claimed to have broken the story first, Rajeev Pratap Saini, states that the police has been constantly present at the house of the young boy; Saini reports stating that there is so much “pressure” on the father, which is why he is not ready to file a criminal complaint.