Police in Uttar Pradesh have lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of Alt News, over his social media posts allegedly revealing the identity of a Muslim boy who was slapped by his classmates under the direction of their school teacher.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had earlier cautioned against disclosing identities, especially by sharing the video of the attack on the second-grade student.
Priyank Kanoongo, the Chairperson of NCPCR, urged people not to contribute to the wrongdoing by disclosing the children's identities.
Zubair has been booked under Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act. However, he deleted the video after NCPCR's caution. The complainant is one Vishnu Dutt.
Earlier, a POCSO case was filed against Zubair in 2020 over cyber harassment when he used image of a minor girl that triggered a barrage of abuses at the child including threats of sexual crime.
The recent video shared by Zubair shows a boy standing and weeping while children from his batch come to him one by one and slap him, egged on by teacher Tripta Tyagi who can be heard saying, "Why don't you hit harder? Whose turn is it?"
The boy faced humiliation and was made to stand for hours, as conveyed by his father to the police. The father stated that the teacher compelled the students to repeatedly strike his child, causing him to be tormented for an extended period. The incident occurred last Thursday.
Tyagi, who serves as both the headmistress and a teacher at Neha Public School in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, is also facing charges. However, in her defence she told the media that she is handicapped and thus asked other children to punish the student. She said that it was the boy’s father who had asked her to discipline him.
She also downplayed the significance of the widely circulated video, describing it as a "minor issue" that was being needlessly blown out of proportion. She also refuted any claims of a communal aspect to the incident.
The child's father Irshad has also told the media that “there is no Hindu Muslim in the matter”.
He said that a few days ago, he had asked the teacher to discipline his son. His only complaint, he said, is that the teacher, instead of thrashing the child herself, made his classmates do so.
“We would have had no objection if it were the teacher or a senior student disciplining my child. But getting him slapped by fellow classmates was wrong. I condemn this,” he said.
The boy was taken to Meerut for a medical examination and has since shown improvement, his father added.
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