Stop discrimination against students of minority communities in schools, colleges: AIFRTE

AIFRTE condemned incidents of MIT student being called a terrorist by professor and Sikh students in Punjab being asked to study in Khalistani schools.

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Vagisha Kaushik | December 2, 2022 | 03:05 PM IST

NEW DELHI: The All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) has condemned the incidents of discrimination against students of religious minority communities in schools and universites. In a statement, the forum referred to incidents of Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) student allegedly being called a terrorist and Sikh students being asked to study in Khalistani schools in Punjab.

“These are not isolated incidents. Students belonging to religious minority communities have been undergoing such bigotry in educational spaces and it is high time that educational institutes adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards such behaviour. Institutes have a tendency to downplay such incidents. Moreover, the outspokenness of students from marginalised communities is silenced in the name of ‘managing’ things. Such actions only help to maintain the existing hierarchical power relations. They alienate and exclude the students from minority communities,” read the AIFRTE statement.

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Jagmohan Singh, forum chairperson and Madhu Prasad, spokesperson recalled the viral video where a student from MIT Bengaluru can be heard reprimanding his teacher for calling him by the name of a terrorist, Kasab. “The student makes it clear that the derogatory remark cannot be downplayed as a joke. We salute the courage of the student to raise the issue in the classroom itself as an incidence of islamophobia. The institute has been forced to condemn it and initiate an inquiry. They have debarred the lecturer from classes until the inquiry is over,” they said.

While talking about the Sikh students’ incident, they alleged that the teacher also spoke ill of the Sikh Gurus during class in a Ferozpur government school. The teacher has issued an apology but only after the students raised the issue in the media and protested outside the school along with their parents.

“AIFRTE stands fully in support and solidarity with students who have had to face such discriminatory behaviour in educational institutional spaces. Unfortunately, the frequency of such incidents has been on the rise because of the normalization of communal discrimination in public life, including by people in positions of power who make irresponsible and provocative statements,” the forum further said.

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