Image: The Moknayak
Last week, a heartbreaking incident was reported from Noornagar of Sujangarh in Churu district of Rajasthan as a 17-year-old boy, Razzaq died by suicide fed up with the harassment and targeting from his teachers over his religious identity. Razzaq was a Class 12 student of the state-run Poonam Chand Bajadiya School and he reportedly ended his life on January 31, reported The Mooknayak.
Speaking to The Mooknayak, his brother said, “When asked the reason for being scared, he said that he wanted to study, but his teachers told him what he would do after studying. You are a Muslim anyway you have to become a terrorist.” Razzaq’s family has alleged that he faced discrimination at the hands of these teachers. In the complaint to the police it has also been stated that Razzaq was expelled from school at the instance of the teachers and when his brother accompanied him to the school to meet with the staff, even he was ill-treated there.
In the complaint, three teachers, Dhannaram Prajapat, Shashi Sharma and Ranjit Bhinchar have been named for harassing Razzaq and for being responsible for Razzaq taking such a drastic step. Razzaq’s body was recovered from the railway tracks by Ladnun Police. As reported by the publication, a suicide note has also been found on Razzaq by the police where he named these teachers, as alleged by Rustam Khan, Razzaq’s brother.
The Chief District Education had initially suspended four teachers including Dhannaram Prajapat, Shashi Sharma, Ranjit Bhinchar as well as Sunita Sharma. However, following protests in support of the accused, their suspension was cancelled and “Awaiting Posting” order was issued. Meanwhile councilors of Sujangarh Municipal Council of Churu district as well as councilors of Ladnun Municipality of Nagaur district have written to the Chief Minister demanding arrests of the accused teachers.
In November 2022, one such incident of religious targeting and harassment due to religious identity occurred at the Manipal Institute of Technology, Karnataka and the same was recorded by one of the students on video. The lecturer, during class, had made a jibe at one of the students. The professor had asked the student his name, and on hearing the name, he remarked: “Oh you are like Kasab”, NDTV reported. He was referring to Ajmal Kasab who was convicted and later hanged to death on various charges including murder, for his involvement in the terrorist attacks of November 26, 2008 that happened in Mumbai. The student defended himself and questioned how a Professor can make such a joke. The professor was then suspended by the University.
When targeted, students are confident to stand up for themselves as they study in bigger universities and are given a sense of security when such prompt action is taken. However, in such small villages, the youth do not have the privilege of the same and some succumb to the harassment, by tragically ending their lives.