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Yeh Jo India Hai Na | Muzaffarnagar Slapping: Spreading Hate, 1 School at a Time

We can keep denying it, but the hate has spread far and wide in India. It has now reached our schools.

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Cameraperson: Athar Rather

Video Producer: Mayank Chawla

Video Editor: Mohd. Irshad Alam

Yeh Jo India Hai Na… yahan we live in denial about hate. For some, a teacher named Tripta Tyagi ordering a Muslim child to be slapped by his classmates in a school in Muzaffarnagar is not hate.

They may say that Chetan Singh’s murder spree on a train was also not hate. And multiple videos calling for the economic boycott of Muslims are also not hate.

Some even insist that none of these men and women have given hate speeches.

We can keep denying it, but in fact, hate has spread far and wide in India, and this video is clear evidence that it has reached our schools, and that should worry us.
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The gist of what this teacher Tripta Tyagi said was that the mothers of Mohammedan or Muslim students pay no attention to their studies, destroying their education – a clearly derogatory communal statement, coming from a biased view about the Muslim community.

Is she saying 'maaro’, ‘kaato'? Is she calling for violence? Is she calling Muslims traitors?

No.

Thankfully, no. But is that the extreme where hate speech starts?

No.

It starts here, in school, with teachers like this.
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And then this hate snowballs.

From hate being learned increasingly at schools, and hate increasingly being learned in conversations at home, to hate learned on social media chats, and to hate that’s given space on TV channel debates, in dharam sansads, in mahapanchayats, and political speeches, and this hate mixed with disinformation, mixed with fake news, mixed with politics creates individuals like Railway Police constable Chetan Singh who went on a communal killing spree on a train in July 2023.

A few months ago, at a college in Karnataka, on hearing a student’s name, a lecturer said – ‘Oh, you are like Kasab’ – and very rightly the student took great offense.

Then again, in Karnataka itself, the targeting of Muslim female students choosing to wear the hijab on campus even got the sanction of the then-state government. In December 2021, there was a video showing students of a school in Sonbhadra, UP, taking an oath to "fight, die, and if required, kill" to turn India into a Hindu Rashtra.

This was one among multiple such oath-taking videos that were then shared by Sudarshan News and its chief Suresh Chavhanke. Chavhanke himself took such an oath with an audience during a Hindu Yuva Vahini event in Delhi a few days earlier.

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If we look for those spreading hate, they are easy to find, their viral videos are easy to find, and their names are known.

Some have FIRs against them but are out on bail. Some have defied their bail conditions and delivered more hate speeches, and yet remain free. And so, because not enough is being done to deter and silence hate, it continues to spread.

What is most tragic about the Muzaffarnagar incident is the decision of the child’s family to not press charges, to take a refund of the school fee, and to withdraw their child from their school.

It shows that the hate has succeeded.

It has not only normalised hate and violence in that classroom of 7 and 8-year-old children, but it has also planted fear in the mind of not only this child’s family.

Many of our fellow Indian Muslims are losing faith in the ability and the will of the government to act against hate.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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