Uttar Pradesh: India school shut down over slapping row

Teacher slapping row
Image caption,The teacher has been accused of making anti-Muslim remarks and asking students to hit their classmate

Authorities in India’s Uttar Pradesh state have sealed a private school after its teacher asked students to slap their Muslim classmate.

Officials said Neha Public School was shut down as it “did not meet the education department’s criteria.”

The school’s students would be shifted to a government school or other nearby schools, officials said.

Meanwhile, the teacher – Tripta Tyagi – has told NDTV news channel that she was “not ashamed” of her actions.

The child’s family has said he was beaten up for getting his times tables wrong.

A video of Ms Tyagi telling her pupils to slap their seven-year-old Muslim classmate at a small private school in Muzaffarnagar district went viral on social media at the weekend.

“Why are you hitting him so lightly? Hit him harder,” the teacher is heard telling the children, as the boy stands crying.

“Hit him on the back… His face is turning red, so hit him on the back now,” she added.

The victim’s father reported the incident to police and took him out of the school. But he did not press charges.

The video sparked outrage on social media, with several users saying that action should be taken against the teacher.

The police have registered a case against Ms Tyagi but she has not been arrested. The charges are bailable.

On Sunday, education officer Shubham Shukla said the authorities were investigating the incident.

An unnamed official told the Indian Express newspaper that the school had no lights or fans and that there were no proper sections for different classes.

Ms Tyagi has not yet commented on the sealing of the school.

However, in an interview to NDTV news channel, she defended her actions saying that they were necessary to “control” and “tackle” children in school.

The incident has sparked national outrage, with several opposition politicians calling it a “hate crime”. Uttar Pradesh has been governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2017.

India’s opposition Congress party MP Rahul Gandhi said the BJP had contributed to religious tensions being felt across India.

“Sowing the poison of discrimination in the minds of innocent children, turning a holy place like a school into a marketplace of hatred,” he posted on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. “This is the same kerosene spread by the BJP that has set every corner of India on fire.”

In June during a visit to the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told journalists that there was “absolutely no space for discrimination” in India.

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