In a shocking incident, a six-year-old hijab-wearing Esha Sheikh (name changed) was stripped in the class, spanked, and paraded naked in the school by her teacher, Zeba Bazi, in an all-girls The Islamic School, Shahpur last week.
This was not the end of the punishment. She was then made to clean the toilets, which were specially soiled for the purpose and later locked in it. All this humiliation and torture was for incomplete homework.
Significantly, it is compulsory for the schoolgirls to wear a hijaab or burqa. However, when the incident happened, school peons, who happen to be male, were present in the school premises.
A shocked Esha could never tell her parents about the incident. Her parents, Sameena and Sarwar Sheikh, were astounded when they learned about it from Esha’s friend Zaheera on Saturday.
On Monday morning, the parents filed an FIR at Shahpur police station against the trustee of the school trust, Iqbal Patel (68) (alias Rasik Patel) and his fourth wife Rihanna (32) who is also the principal of the school.
“On Saturday, she pleaded with us to cancel her admission from the school where she studies in class I - B division. Although we convinced her to go to school, she returned home at 3:30 pm weeping profusely. It was her friend
Zaheera who then informed us of what had happened a couple of days ago,” Sameena said.
Incidentally, Zaheera had been similarly punished by the same teacher earlier.
On Monday morning, the Sheikhs, with other parents, stormed the school demanding to talk to the teacher and the trustee Patel, but they were not allowed to enter. Following this, they went to the police station and filed a complaint. Meanwhile, Patel was called to the police station and detained till the parents filed a complaint.
When DNA asked Iqbal repeatedly to answer questions about this incident, he refused to speak. Significantly, a relative of Esha, Ashraf Khan claimed that this was the seventh case in last four months and 15th case in the last one year at this school.
Several complaints have been filed, but no action has been taken by the police.
"Although I have filed a police complaint, I doubt if the police are serious enough to take action as past complaints filed by parents have fallen on deaf ears. My daughter is extremely traumatised by the incident," Sarwar said. The number of students in the school has dropped from 700 a couple of years ago to 400 now, a parent confided.