Outrage over video of school teacher asking students to slap Muslim boy 

A highly disturbing video which went viral on Friday, 25 August, has triggered horror, shock and calls for action online. The video's details are still officially unverified

A screen grab from the video (photo: @alishan_jafri/ Twitter)
A screen grab from the video (photo: @alishan_jafri/ Twitter)

Shalini Sahay

A lady is heard telling either a male colleague or parent, who is off camera, that she has been maintaining that all "Muslim children should be packed off there".

She continues to speak as a young boy in uniform, clearly trying not to cry, stands in front of a group of similarly uniformed students sitting on the floor; one after another, other boys, all seemingly aged between 8 and 10, are called by the teacher to slap him, apparently for being Muslim. 

The teacher can even be heard exhorting her students to slap the boy harder, while the man off camera laughs when she says that "Muslim boys fail to learn unless given a beating". 

This is the content of a video which has spread like wildfire among Indian netizens on Friday, with most posters and commenters expressing shock and horror at the sheer inhumanity of the spectacle.

Some of the posts name the teacher, and claim that the incident occurred in a private school in Khubbapur village of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh. Some have even identified the school and claimed that it apparently functions from the terrace of a house. These details have not been independently verified by National Herald.

Some users on X (formerly Twitter) have tagged the police and demanded action, while digital journalist Alishan Jafri has put up a post saying that the has spoken to the eight-year-old boy's father, a small farmer, who told Jafri that he has stopped sending his son to school. "He doesn't want to take legal action against the teacher because he doesn't believe that there's any scope for justice (and it) can vitiate communal amity,” Jafri has written.

It is still not clear why the boy was singled out for such public humiliation and punishment.  

However, the video has evoked sharp reactions, with right-wing trolls posting a random video of a Muslim man abusing Hindus in an apparent bid to justify the teachers’ action. Most commenters who have seen the video are, however, shocked and anguished. 

“Watching such abuse and seeing the boy cry will scar each and every child in that classroom despite the nervous giggles. She isn't just torturing the Muslim child, she is causing trauma for all the students. All of them are victims,” was one of the many reactions that flooded X. 

“The (undated) video tells you just what hate can do, when condoned and even encouraged by authorities. This is not a story just about bigotry that lives in ordinary people but tests the state and centre's reaction to it,” said another. 

“Hath not an Indian Muslim eyes, hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with same weapons, subject to same diseases, healed by same means as Hindus. If we hurt them, do they not bleed? If we wrong them, will they not seek revenge,” wondered an NRI. 

Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Hegde commented, “Again and again, the question that haunts me is, children have a very keen sense of injustice. Did not one of them stand up to the teacher and say this is wrong?”

His comment prompted a user to respond, “Some children are unfortunate to have the worst role models — bigoted parents. They learn early to believe in differences. So, it’s likely they’d consider this teacher’s orders as normal, just as students shouting Jai Sri Ram slogans did on seeing Muslim students offering namaz.” 

The video left many people agonising about the future. 

“Breaks my heart! We grew up to songs of unity and diversity and being equal! This hate in children’s hearts is poisonous and is spoiling our societal fabric beyond repair!” read another reaction.

“It is very, very troubling. Wish I could close my eyes to what's happening,” posted a Muslim mother.

“Parents teach their kids to save their own skin, come what may,” said another. 

“There are more Muslims in India than there are people in Brazil," wrote a user. "There are more Muslims in nuclear-armed South Asia than there are people in North America. The bigotry, Islamophobia and hatred for Muslims are laying the groundwork for genocide and civil war that will make 1940s Europe look like a scuffle,” warned another user.

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