UK students face anti-Hindu hate, pressure to convert – India Today News Desk

UK School Bullying

India Today News DeskThe HJS report surveyed 988 Hindu parents and found that 51 per cent of them reported that their children had faced religious discrimination in British schools. – India Today News Desk

A report by an independent think tank based in London has revealed the extent of discrimination and bullying faced by Hindu students in UK schools.

The report from the London-based Henry Jackson Society, authored by research fellow Charlotte Littlewood, education specialist Rishi Handa and Baroness Verma, is one of the first into the discrimination faced by Hindu kids in UK schools.

The report surveyed 988 Hindu parents and found that 51 per cent of them reported that their children had faced religious discrimination at school.

Classmates threw beef at girl

The report finds that 51 per cent of Hindu parents who were surveyed said their child had experienced anti-Hindu hate in schools, while less than 1 per cent of schools reported any hate incidents in the last 5 years. Additionally, only 19 per cent of Hindu parents surveyed believed that schools were able to identify anti-Hindu hate.

The report reveals distressing accounts of anti-Hindu hate against kids, which was the key theme of the study. It mentioned anti-Hindu slurs with one parent revealing that her “daughter was bullied at school and had beef thrown at her by classmates as she is a Hindu”.

Bullying increased after Article 370 revocation

Not only anti-Hindu slurs, but kids have faced xenophobic and racist slurs in schools as well. Students have been called out for casteism in Hinduism. Some of them were called “Paki” by other kids. The hint of bullying faced by these kids was uncovered when parents revealed how British kids ganged up and sidelined Hindu kids.

The report quotes one parent as saying, “My child has faced bullying from other children on many occasions specifically after PM Modi’s rise in India and after article 370 was revoked. More to that, they were labelled as ‘qafir’ & ‘disbelievers’, and calls to convert or go to hell were made.”

The harassment that Hindu kids in Britain face worsens as Islamist extremism comes into the picture, according to the report. One parent discussed the extent of its presence when kids were told that they aren’t going to survive very long. “If you want to go to paradise, you’ll have to come to Islam. … Hindus are the herbivores at the bottom of the food chain, we will eat you up.”

Schools do not identify and record hate crimes

Only 19 per cent of Hindu parents believe schools are able to identify anti-Hindu hate. In the UK, schools are expected to keep accurate records of any incidents of bullying that occur, including details of the incident itself, the people involved, and any action taken by the school.

But nearly 15 per cent of the schools failed to provide any information for this particular survey. The schools that did respond to the report’s Freedom of Information request either did not keep records of faith-based hate incidents or appeared to record very few incidents.

Urgent need for awareness

The findings of the study underscore the urgent need for greater awareness and understanding of the experience of Hindu kids in schools and further research into other lesser-known types of prejudices that may be manifesting in Britain’s classrooms. It highlights the need for more specific and accurate reporting mechanisms to capture such incidents. – India Today, 20 April 2023

› With inputs from Neha Suryavanshi, London.

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