Tripta Tyagi is not done with her teaching.
The headmistress, who was seen on video ordering children to slap and smack a Muslim child, on Saturday sought to enlighten politicians, including Rahul Gandhi, that what she did was no big deal.
Tyagi said: “I regret that it was made a big issue — a world-level issue. I accept my mistake, but I am sorry that it was inflated out of proportion... I want to tell
the politicians it was a small matter related to the kids.”
“It was not so big an issue that politicians — Rahul Gandhi and other leaders — tweeted. Such good leaders and this kind of mean behaviour? Giving hype to a small matter is harmful to the children and the teachers. How will a teacher teach their pupils if such matters are made viral without understanding their essence?” she asked reporters at her village in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh.
Rahul had reacted to the video on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday: “Dissolving the poison of discrimination in the mind of innocent children; making a holy place like a school the market of hatred — a teacher cannot do worse than this. Spread by the BJP, this kerosene is lighting the fire in the nook and cranny of India. The children are the future of India — we should teach them to live together with love and not to hate.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the moon on Saturday but has not yet mentioned the goings-on down below.
Baldev Singh Aulakh, agriculture minister in the Yogi Adityanath government, also displayed his pedagogic skills in front of reporters in Lucknow on Saturday: “Humans are prone to committing mistakes. The teacher who did this has tendered her apology. The Opposition parties shouldn’t raise this issue further and others should avoid highlighting it. The schools are like temples, and should be spared from being dragged into controversies.”
Tyagi, who runs her own school from her home in a village in the western Uttar Pradesh district, had made the children beat the Muslim child in the classroom after declaring that Muslim students should be thrashed before they are sent back home because they don’t do their homework well.
Satyanarayan Prajapat, superintendent of police of Muzaffarnagar, said in the morning: “We saw that a teacher is making some objectionable remarks and asking a child’s classmates to beat him. It came to light after a thorough probe that the lady teacher declared that the education of the Mohammedan children is spoiled because their mothers don’t look after their studies. We have informed the basic education officer of the district for departmental action against the school.”
Arvind Mallappa Bangari, district magistrate of Muzaffarnagar, said: “A cousin of the child had made the video viral. The parents of the child were not willing to file a police complaint on Friday evening. But they submitted the complaint in the morning (of Saturday) and a case was filed against the headmistress. Further action would be taken against whoever is found guilty.”
“The child welfare committee is doing counselling of the boy and his parents. We appeal to everybody not to identify the child as it is a violation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015,” the district magistrate added.
Naresh Tikait, the Bharatiya Kisan Union president, held a panchayat in the village where the victimised child, his father and another child whom the headmistress had asked to slap his classmate were present.
“The two children hugged each other in the panchayat and pledged to live like brothers. The headmistress has also tendered her apology and said that she would never repeat such an act. The father of the victim had submitted a complaint against her and the police had filed an FIR. The father of the child declared in the panchayat that he would withdraw the complaint today. We don’t want this issue to take an ugly turn and declare that it has been sorted out. We still remember the Muzaffarnagar riots,” Tikait told reporters after the panchayat in which over 600 people of the village and adjoining areas were present.
In 2013, riots had erupted between Jats and Muslims in Muzaffarnagar, killing as many as 62 people.
The father of the child had resolved on Friday against filing a police complaint against Tyagi “because she has returned the entire fees of my son and I have decided not to send him to the school”, but he had finally registered an FIR against her on Saturday for voluntarily causing hurt and intentionally insulting someone with ulterior motive (Sections 323 and 504 of the IPC).
Tyagi told reporters on Saturday morning: “This incident happened the day before yesterday (Thursday). The student was from Class I. It was not my intention to make it Hindu-Muslim. They edited the video and posted it (on social media).”
“The father of the child had brought him to school the same day while beating him and complained to me that he was not doing his studies. I am a disabled person and cannot stand up to beat a child. I thought of asking some other children to slap him once or twice. He was not memorising (the numeric) table for the past few months,” she said.
“He (the one who recorded her remarks on his mobile phone) deleted other lines but kept this ‘Mohammedan’ word in the video. I had said that the Mohammedan mothers shouldn’t take their children to the home of their maternal uncles because the examination is round the corner and their education would be affected. He (the child) used to go to his maternal uncle. I was telling this to other students,” she added.