A 14-year-old student has allegedly been driven to suicide by two teachers from her school in Uttar Pradesh. Her crime? She was poor and from a lower caste and had questioned one of the teachers when she was given a fee receipt for an amount lower than she had actually paid.
The incident has come to light days after a teacher in the state’s Muzaffarnagar had asked students to take turns slapping one of their classmates.
Ayesha Bano (name changed) was a student of Azimuddin Ashraf Islamia Inter College in Barabanki district. Her mother said, “My husband died of a heart attack in 2018 and our family was then on the brink of starvation. With great difficulty, I managed to admit Ayesha and her younger sister to the school in 2022.”
On May 27, Ayesha paid her school fees of Rs 1,100 but one of her teachers, Wasfi Khatoon, gave her a receipt for a lower amount. When Ayesha pointed this out and opposed it, the teacher allegedly told her that despite being poor and from a lower caste, she was behaving like she was equal to the upper castes.
Police said Wasfi and a male teacher then made it a point to taunt Ayesha over her family’s poverty and caste regularly in front of other students. Fed up with the constant harassment, Ayesha hanged herself at her home on August 4. A suicide note written by her said she was taking the step because of the repeated taunts by Wasfi and the other teacher.
“I approached the police again and again for four to five days but they did not register an FIR. They did so recently, only after we approached the superintendent of police,” said Ayesha’s mother.
After Ayesha’s suicide, the teachers allegedly claimed there was something wrong with her “character” and that was the reason behind her taking the step.
“An FIR has been registered against the teachers for harassment and abetment of suicide based on the mother’s complaint. We are investigating the case,” said a police officer.
The school’s principal, Jamshed Ahmed, denied the charges against the teachers and said, “The family had wanted to change the girls’ surname to Khan in the school records but had not submitted the documents.”
Last week, a teacher was caught on camera asking schoolchildren to slap a Muslim boy at a private school in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar. The incident had sparked outrage across the country and a case had been filed against her.