Ever since the lynching of Mohammad Ikhlaq in Bisada village following rumours of cow slaughter late on September 28, the village primary school is witnessing a drop in attendance.
With tensions running high, a number of police officials and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in the village. But residents don’t feel it is safe to send their children to school under the shadow of guns.
“Nearly 50% of the students have not turned up since last Tuesday. We have 129 students enrolled at the school. At least 100 students have not come to school since the incident. We have only 40-50 students turning up for classes,” said Kanchan Rai, principal of the Bisada primary school.
The primary school is located near the mosque where armed policemen have been camping.
“We have 32 Muslim students registered with the school. Only five of them are attending classes,” said Parul Singh, a teacher at the school.
“There is a sense of fear in the village. I cannot allow my children to attend school in such circumstances. We will wait till things come back to normal and the policemen and the media vacate the area,” said Nagma Khatun, a resident of the village.
However, some Muslim students, including 10-year-old Nisha Akhtar, have been regularly attending school.
“I want to become a doctor which is why I don’t miss school. My parents say there is nothing to fear and that the policemen are here for our safety,” Nisha said.
The teachers said they have urged the villagers to start sending their children to school.
“The situation was tense last week but now everything seems fine. One of our teachers is visiting parents and asking them to start sending their children to school. We hope all the children will return to the classrooms soon,” Singh said.
The teachers were also hesitant about returning to their job last week but the police personnel escorted them to school.
“We feel safe with the police here. I don’t think there will be any trouble in the school,” Singh said.