A CPM delegation on Wednesday visited the family of the Muslim schoolboy in Muzaffarnagar who was beaten up by his classmates at the headmistress’s behest on account of his religion, and invited them to send their three sons to study in Kerala.
“Whatever happened here has become a big issue in Kerala. We are agitated and in shock,” Rajya Sabha member John Brittas, who was part of the delegation along with politburo member Subhashini Ali, told reporters after spending an hour with the family at their village in western Uttar Pradesh.
“Such things don’t happen in Kerala. We believe in communal harmony. Christians, Hindus and Muslims live together there. I am an MP from Kerala. The chief minister of the (CPM-ruled) state (Pinarayi Vijayan) has made a statement that we would stand by this family,” Brittas added.
“The Kerala education minister (Vasudevan Sivankutty) has said that we will sponsor the entire education of the children of this family in Kerala if they agree to it.”
Tripta Tyagi, headmistress and owner of the school, is heard saying in a video that “Muslim students should be beaten up before they are sent back home… because they don’t do their homework well”.
She orders children in the classroom to hit the Muslim student of Class I because he has failed to memorise the multiplication table of five.
“The victimised child is the youngest of three brothers. His two elder brothers are labourers,” Brittas said.
“We have told them that we will help them even if they want to study here (Muzaffarnagar). But I’m here to invite them to Kerala to continue their education.”
The MP said the CPM delegation had provided some help to the family.
When reporters asked about the nature of the help provided, Subhashini Ali said: “It’s between us and them; we don’t publicise such things. We will be happy to ensure that the education of the three children continues.”
She said her party “and some other people are willing to provide every support to them”.
“There is no one in the country who is not hurt by this incident. You (peddlers of hate) are putting poison in the mind of children and asking one child to beat another. The entire country has condemned this incident,” Ali said.
“The child’s father has met the headmistress. He told us the headmistress has no regrets for what she did. We think she has her place in jail and not in a school. A message should be sent across so that none dares repeat such an act. They are trying to make criminals, terrorists out of children. Enough is enough. Please don’t do this with children.”
The police booked Tyagi on Saturday for voluntarily causing hurt and intentionally insulting someone with ulterior motives (Sections 323 and 504 of the penal code) on the basis of a complaint from the child’s father. But Tyagi had not been questioned till Wednesday evening. The education department has closed the school. Shubham Shukla, basic education officer of Muzaffarnagar, has said the school was running “illegally” and that “the students will be shifted to nearby schools”.
The police have also booked fact-checker Mohammed Zubair, who had posted the video on social media, on the ground that his act exposed the child’s identity.