Indian teacher who forced student to slap classmate spurs controversy

A teacher instructed students to slap a Muslim student after a maths error, causing uproar. (via video screencap)

A heated controversy has erupted in the online world following a viral video that shows a female teacher forcing a seven-year-old student to slap his classmate, allegedly for writing multiplication tables incorrectly. Investigations into the incident are currently underway by Indian police. The incident has led to the closure of the private school where the incident took place.

According to local reports, the slapping happened on August 24 in a private school in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The video, which circulated on social media, showed a female teacher instructing students to slap a crying seven-year-old boy, who is of Muslim faith, for a mistake in his multiplication tables. The video sparked widespread criticism, drawing condemnation from social media users worldwide.

The video further revealed that the teacher, unsatisfied with the intensity of the slap, goaded the students to be more aggressive.

“Why are you slapping him gently? Slap him hard.”

The seven-year-old boy was crying and had a red face from the physical punishment. But that wasn’t enough for the teacher, who then further pushed students to continue the abuse.

“Change and hit his waist. His face is all red. Hit his waist instead.”

Indian authorities have confirmed the authenticity of the video and said action will be taken against the teacher. The father of the victim has lodged a complaint at the local police station in Muzaffarnagar and withdrawn his son from the school. However, no legal action has been taken against the teacher yet.

Human rights groups warn of a rise in crimes and violence against Muslims, who are a minority in India, ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office in 2014 and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017.

Rahul Gandhi, the leader of India’s opposition, accused the government of fuelling religious divisiveness in the country. Gandhi posted a message on Twitter condemning the discrimination and hate.

“The poison of selective targeting is being injected into the minds of innocent children, transforming sacred places like schools into hate-filled arenas. This is the same fuel that the BJP is spreading across every corner of India, setting the country ablaze.”

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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