A two year old video showing contractual teachers in Uttar Pradesh threatening to embrace Islam if there demands were not met, is being shared online with a false claim that the protesters were demanding justice for Tabrez Ansari – the youth who was lynched by a mob in Jharkhand in June 2019.
The protesters in the video are actually a group of Shiksha Mitras (contractual teachers) from UP who were protesting against a Supreme Court order.
The caption with the video claims, ‘If Tabrez doesen’t get justice then 1600 of us Hindus will convert to Islam – listen to these true Ram Bhakts (devotees)’.
(Hindi: अगर तबरेज को इंसाफ़ नहीं मिला तो हम हिन्दू 1600 परिवार है तकरीबन 8000 लोग है हम इस्लाम कबूल कर लेंगे – सुनिये इस हमारे सच्चे रामभक्त की बात।)
Tabrez Ansari was a victim of mob violence in Saraikela district of Jharkhand on June 18. He died on June 22, and ever since fake videos in his name are being circulated on social media. You can read another report on a fake video related to Tabrez Ansari’s death that BOOM had debunked earlier, here
The 40-second long video shows a man speaking to media persons. He can be heard saying, “We condemn it and now we will embrace Islam. The families of all shiksha mitras will embrace Islam. The moment we talk to the maulvi and finalize a date, all of us will convert to Islam and we will chant Allah-hu-Akbar. We are 1600 people here and in the entire district there are 7000 of our people who will convert to Islam.”
We searched online for Hindi keywords Shiksha Mitra (शिक्षा मित्र ) and Islam (इस्लाम) and found several YouTube links and other reports from 2017 carrying the same clip.
We were able to establish that the incident was from Uttar Pradesh and the video appears to have been recorded sometime in July 2017.
The Shiksha Mitras were protesting a Supreme Court decision wherein the apex court had cancelled the adjustment of Shiksha Mitras appointed as assistant teachers in government schools of Uttar Pradesh.
We found another video of the same man shown in the viral video. Here, he mentions his name as Manohar Singh and can be heard speaking about the problems being faced by Shiksha Mitras.
Who Are Shiksha Mitras?
Shiksha Mitras are para-teachers appointed by the Uttar Pradesh government in order to bridge the gap of primary teachers and strengthen the primary education system. They are paid much less as compared to full-time teachers and are hired on a contractual basis.
While earlier, class 12 pass individuals were appointed as Shiksha Mitras, with the Right To Education coming into effect in 2010, the UP government decided that such teachers would be given a two-year special BTC (Basic Training Certificate) training before appointing them as assistant teachers. An India Today article states ‘before they were duly appointed as assistant teachers and by 2015, 1.67 lakh shiksha mitras had been adjusted as assistant teachers in the state’s educational system’.
However, the Allahabad High Court, in September 2015, declared the ‘upgraded’ appointments as null and void and cancelled it. While the Supreme Court initially stayed the High Court’s order, it later decided against adjustment of the Shiksha Mitras as assistant teachers.
This led to massive protests in the state where the affected Shiksha Mitras were demanding the UP government to protect their jobs.