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Class 3 Student Threatened with Homicide Due to Muslim Identity in Gujarat School

“Kya woh mera gala kaatenge Abbu? (Will they slit my throat?)”, questions a third grader who experienced abuse and homicide threats at the hands of his classmates.

Class 3rd, Student Given Homicide Threat Over His Muslim Identity in Gujarat School
Representational Photo

An 8-year-old was abused and threatened by his fellow classmates over his Muslim identity following a “minor scuffle” at a school in Baroda, Gujarat. The incident that took place on 17th of February, left the parents deeply shocked due to the discriminatory remarks and Islamophobic comments made by the third-grade students.

The incident which also turned life upside down for a boy who wished to be an Astronaut, began over something as simple as requesting a pencil at Tree House High School in Vadodara.

The victim, identified as Faizaan Mohammad, son of Shehjad Ansari, realized he did not have a pencil and asked his classmates if he could borrow one, believing he had left it at home. As no one handed him a pencil, he searched his school bag again and found one. 

His classmates who saw this, started to verbally abuse him saying “Musalman sab aise hi hote hai (All Muslims are like this)”. Hearing this, Faizan objected, asking his classmates to not say such things and to move past the matter. 

Despite Faizaan’s objections, the students continued, “Sab musalman aise hi gande hote hai (all Muslims are dirty)”, “Humne tumhe is desh me rehne diya hai nahi to tum katora le kar kahi bheek maang rahe hote (We allowed you to live in this country otherwise you would be begging somewhere with a bowl)”, etc. 

Feeling helpless, Faizaan left the classroom and reported the incident to the school coordinator. However, the coordinator, allegedly preoccupied with another sick student, could not address the matter at that moment.

Moreover, his peers also threatened him against complaining about the incident. “Agar ghar ja kar apne mummy ya papa ko ye sab bataya to achcha nahi hoga (If you complain about this to your parents, you will face consequences)”, allegedly warned Devesh (name changed).

One of the students, Shiva (name changed), even gave a homicide threat saying, “Gala kaat kar haath me de dunga (Will slit your throat and give it to your hands)”.  

Faizan, deeply troubled by the encounter, explained the incident to his parents, asking, “Abbu, Kya woh mera gala kaatenge? (Will they slit my throat?)”. His paternal uncle, Sagir Ahmed Ansari told The Observer Post that the unfortunate episode has traumatized Faizan and they are now seeing a psychiatrist. 

When the matter was taken to the school authorities, the students confessed to their actions. Respective parents were called and informed about the incident after confirming, who were also shocked to hear that their wards had made such comments. The school further appointed the coordinator of the school, Nishi Gaur, to ensure Faizan’s security.

Detailing the aftermath of the incident in a mail addressing the school management, accessed by The Observer Post, Sagir Ahmed reiterated the verbal assurances given by the management after a second meeting was held in the school office on 19th February. 

The school management had promised to provide expert counseling to the accused students identified as Shiva, Manav, Harish, Devesh and Harsh, which has not been done yet, told Sagir Ahmed. Although the school authorities have transferred the accused students to a separate section, it is not the solution, he added. 

Expressing his concerns over hatred against Muslims in children aged so young, he questions, “Who is instilling such hatred in eight-nine-year-olds? It is hurting me immensely to see where our next generation is heading.”

Despite assurances from the school management that necessary steps would be taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents, Faizan experienced physical abuse by another student on Tuesday.

Speaking to The Observer Post, Ahmed said that Faizan was hit with a bottle on his head right above the neck from behind in the common canteen during recess.

Following this, the management initially promised to suspend the student for seven days. However, upon Faizan’s return the next day, the same student was observed in the school, according to Ahmed.

Currently, Faizan stays home, as per a doctor’s recommendation, while his family has approached the higher authorities to look into the matter, and are still contemplating their next course of action.

He noted that parents of other students have shared accounts of similar discriminatory acts and comments faced by their children in the past.

The school management and faculty have refused to comment on the matter after disconnecting calls with a correspondent from The Observer Post

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