The incident of slapping a seven-year old Muslim student by his classmates on the instructions of their Hindu teacher has sparked widespread outrage.
The video of the incident, which took place in the Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh, shows the boy fearfully standing in front of his classmates as the teacher calls on students to hit him.
The boy cries as his classmates take turns to slap him, while the teacher is heard telling the students to do it properly. A man can be heard laughing as the boy wails while the slapping continues.
Police in the district have registered a case against the teacher and an investigation is underway.
The boy’s father told media that his son felt restless and scared after the incident. He said now the boy has been admitted to another school.
The incident has caused widespread anger and upset in India, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s Hindu nationalist policies have deepened the country’s communal tensions and created an atmosphere of fear and alienation among minority groups.
Prominent opposition politician Rahul Gandhi accused the teacher of sowing the poison of discrimination in the minds of innocent children. He also blamed the BJP for stoking religious intolerance. He said this is the same kerosene spread by the BJP which has set every corner of India on fire.
A study noted a massive rise in the hate crimes against all minorities between 2014 and 2018, following the BJP’s election victory.