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Stop bias against minority students, says education rights group, cites instances

By Our Representative 

The education rights group, All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE), taking strong exception to the incidents of discrimination against students from the minority communities, has referred to a video which has gone viral on social media where a student from Manipal Institute of Technology (Karnataka) can be heard reprimanding his teacher for calling him by the name of a terrorist, Kasab.
AIFRTE says, “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.”
In another incident, says AIFRTE, Sikh students were singled out and asked to leave the school and study in Khalistani schools. The teacher also spoke ill of the Sikh Gurus during class. This happened only a few days ago in a Ferozpur government school in Punjab. 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.
“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”, the statement says.
Believes AIFRTE, “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.”
Signed by Jagmohan Singh and Madhu Prasad, chairperson and spokesperson, the AIFRTE statement adds, “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.”

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