A case of religious discrimination against a Hindu student named Pawan Sen at the hands of his Muslim teacher Nishat Begum has been reported from the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. The teacher at Government New Boys Secondary School, Garatganj allegedly used some Muslim boys from outside the school to beat up the victim, an 8th standard student. His ‘crime’ was that even after objections from the teacher, he used to go to school wearing a tilak.
The boy is injured and is currently admitted to the district hospital. Pawan said that before going to school, he takes a bath and goes to the temple, where the pujari applies tilak on him. Begum used to forbid Pawan from applying tilak and threatened him with dire consequences if he didn’t stop the practise.
Pawan’s father has submitted complaints to both the district collector and SP demanding action against Begum. District Education Officer ML Rathoria said that the matter has come to his notice and will be investigated at the departmental level.
The entire Sen samaj, a socio-economically backward community, is also up in arms over the issue and has demanded strict action against the teacher.
Such targeting of Hindu children by fanatical Muslim, Christian or other Hindu-hating teachers is not new. In 2017, it was reported that Muslim teachers were forcing Hindu boys to offer namaz in a government-run residential school in Mewat region of Haryana.
Recently, Charan Markam, a government school teacher in Chattisgarh belonging to a tribal community, beat up a group of class 7 and 8 students because they had kept Janmashtami fast. As per the students, the teacher used to routinely denigrate Hindu deities.
As for Christian missionary schools, there are innumerable instances of Hindu students being persecuted and punished – from an LKG student in Bengaluru being expelled for keeping a shikha, students in Tamil Nadu being punished for putting mehandi during festivals or vibhuti, students in Chattisgarh being forced to contribute money for Christian prayer assemblies, or just disparaging Hindu Dharma during morning assembly in the posh Mount Carmel Schools in New Delhi.
This is where secularism has brought us after 74 years of ‘independence’. Hindus are now being targeted just for practicing their religion by fundamentalist bigots of other faiths, by governments, media and judiciary, and through our Constitution itself.