A video of a teacher from India asking her students to slap a Muslim classmate has caused shock.
In this video, which has sparked strong reactions across India, a teacher at a private school in the state of Uttar Pradesh is seen ordering her students to slap a 7-year-old classmate, allegedly for making a mistake in preschool.
“Why do you hit him so softly? Hit him harder,” she can be heard telling the children, as the boy stands and cries.
A little later she asks her students to hit the boy on the body as well. “Start slapping him on the back. His face is starting to turn red, hit him on the back.”
Local police chief Satyanarayan Prazapat confirmed the authenticity of the video and said the Hindu teacher would be punished, noting that the boy’s family had taken legal action against her.
“We discovered that the teacher had said that Muslim students, whose mothers did not pay enough attention to their lessons, were spoiled,” he added.
Human rights groups have for years complained about the increase in intolerance and discrimination against Muslims in India, especially after the election of the nationalist, Hindu Narendra Modi as the country’s prime minister in 2014.
Uttar Pradesh has been ruled since 2017 by the BJP, the ruling party, led by a Hindu monk, Yogi Adityanath, who many see as Modi’s successor.
Raul Gandhi, the leader of the opposition, has accused the BJP of encouraging intolerance. “Spreading the poison of discrimination in the minds of innocent children, turning this sacred space that is the school into a place of incitement to hatred (…) is the worst thing an educator can do for the country,” he wrote in X (ex Twitter).