A Delhi government school teacher has been booked for allegedly passing communal slurs in a classroom in Delhi, days after was caught on camera ordering a classroom to slap a Muslim student in Uttar Pradesh.
After a complaint from families of four Muslim students, an FIR has been lodged against Hema Gulati at the Gandhi Nagar police station under IPC sections 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 298 (uttering words, etc, with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings).
The four students of class 9 alleged that Gulati, while talking about India’s Chandrayaan-3 success, insulted Muslim students last Wednesday.
“The Quran is incorrect”; “you have no mercy in your heart since you kill and eat innocent animals”; “why didn’t you go to Pakistan during partition”, and “there has been no contribution of your community in the freedom struggle”, the teacher allegedly said, according to the students.
Newslaundry could not reach the principal and Gulati for comment. Efforts to contact them at the school were thwarted by the security guard at the gate.
Police, meanwhile, refused to comment, maintaining that the investigation is underway. The statements of the four students have been recorded, their families said, adding that the police refused to share a copy of the FIR.
Shahdara DCP Rohit Meena earlier told news agency that it is a government school, and a juvenile welfare officer, along with counsellors, is providing support and counselling to the affected students.
The sister of one of the students told Newslaundry that the families approached the police after a meeting with the school authorities failed to resolve their concerns last week.
The families said the principal and the teacher offered an apology but they wanted action. “We don’t need any teacher like her in any school. How will I send the next generations to school,” asked the relative of another student.
The mother of another student said she found out about the alleged incident when her son began asking strange questions after school.
Local residents who had attended the same school in the past expressed shock at the incident. “The majority of people from this locality studied in that school only. We have never come across any such incident,” said Huma Ansari, an alum from the same school.
“I have never experienced anything like this during my time at the school. I don’t know what happened this time,” said Fardin, another alum.
Meanwhile, parents have claimed that all the four students were questioned at the school by “officials” on Tuesday.
“I was told by my brother that some senior officials had come to school today and questioned them over the incident. They were asked why it was only they who felt bad and not the others in the classroom,” alleged the sister of one of the students.
Ashok Agarwal, an educationist and child rights lawyer, told Newslaundry that communal hatred is seeping into schools and this is not an isolated incident.
“A few days ago, a student from a Delhi government school in the Trans Yamuna Area told me how his Hindu classmates shouted Jai Sri Ram in the classroom to scare Muslim students,” Agarwal said, adding that there is a need to address such issues at multiple levels to ensure a more inclusive environment for all students.