Modi caricature row: Indian teacher forced to quit over

A woman teacher in an Indian school in Qatar’s capital Doha has reportedly been forced to quit her job after she posted a caricature of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on her Facebook page, media reported Thursday.

According to the report in The Peninsula daily, the incident took place last week triggering a big controversy among a section of the expatriate Indian community who said the Photoshop caricature was an insult to Modi.

In the caricature, a picture of the Indian prime minister is superimposed with that of a black-and-white striped dog emptying its bladder.

According to the teacher who is an Indian, the caricature was circulating in social media and she just picked it and shared it on her Facebook account.

“I didn’t create the caricature nor did I post it to insult Modi,” the teacher of the MES Indian School was quoted as telling the newspaper.

“I just used it to protest against what has been happening back home (a reference to alleged gagging of freedom of speech!).”

According to the report, the teacher was initially suspended for three days pending an inquiry by the management. This week she was asked to resign which she did.

Her friends told The Penisula that they found the school’s action shocking because India being a democratic country, its citizens enjoyed freedom of expression.

When contacted by the newspaper, the school management said the teacher was asked to quit since she used the school’s name and logo with Modi’s caricature.

“Also, being a teacher, she shouldn’t have posted such a derogatory caricature on her Facebook account. A teacher is a role model for the entire society,” a senior official from the management was quoted as saying.

However, the teacher, who did not want to be identified, said she did not know how the school’s name and logo appeared on her posting as she was part of a group.

Stating that she received threats after she posted the caricature, she said: “The influence of these people (a reference to Hindu rightist supporters of Modi) can be gauged from the fact that they can silence anti-Modi comments and photographs on social media even in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries.”

The GCC countries comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are home to a large expatriate Indian population.

The school, however, said that after the posting of the caricature, the school got calls from several parents.

The report, citing a source, said the school came under intense external pressure
to dismiss the teacher ”and her resignation was a compromise formula, although a school official denied it”.