Dozens of students from a government school in Sangod, in Rajasthan’s Kota district, organised a protest on Monday after the state government suspended three of the school’s Muslim teachers in response to allegations that they were forcing students to offer namaz in an attempt to convert them to Islam, The Indian Express reported.

The allegations were made by the Sarva Hindu Samaj, a Hindutva group based in Sangod. The students have demanded that their teachers be reinstated.

The state government had on Thursday issued suspension orders against two teachers named Mirza Mujahid and Firoz Khan. On Saturday, a third suspension order was issued against another teacher, Shabana.

The orders were issued after the Hindutva group complained to Rajasthan School Education Minister Madan Dilawar that a former girl student, who was a Hindu, had been allegedly identified as a Muslim in the register at the Khajuri Odpur government school in Sangod.

The former student had eloped with a Muslim man after completing her schooling, The Indian Express reported. This triggered a controversy over the school allegedly choosing to mark her religion as Muslim.

The education minister on Friday said that strict action had been taken against the three teachers, The Hindustan Times reported. “A conspiracy of religious conversion and ‘love jihad’ is happening there,” Dilawar said, adding that Hindu students were being “forced to offer namaz”.

“Love jihad” is a Hindutva conspiracy theory that Muslim men lure Hindu women into romantic relationships in order to convert them to Islam.

Meanwhile, Mujahid, one of the suspended teachers, told The Indian Express that the confusion occurred because three students in the school shared the same name, and two among them were Muslims, The Indian Express reported. “In this confusion, the [third] student’s religion column was changed, but that was a human error,” the newspaper quoted Mujahid as saying.

Dalit teacher suspended for “insulting Hindu beliefs”

On Monday, Dalit groups in Rajasthan launched a protest in connection with another incident of a teacher being suspended for “insulting Hindu beliefs”. On Friday, Dilawar had ordered the suspension of a Dalit teacher, Hemlata Bairwa, who was posted at a government primary school at Lakdai village in Baran district.

Bairwa was suspensed after she refused to worship the Hindu deity Saraswati during a Republic Day function at the school, The Hindu reported. The groups urged Chief Minister Bhajan Lal Sharma to intervene in the matter.

Bairwa had refused to place a painting of the Hindu deity among pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar and Savitribai Phule on January 26. In a video clip of the incident, Bairwa can be seen saying that Phule should be respected for her contribution to education and questioning the deity Saraswati’s role contribution.

This led to an argument between Bairwa and some of the villagers, who can be heard accusing her of insulting Hindu beliefs.

At a public gathering on February 22, Dilawar said that he was issuing a suspension order against “those who give weightage to themselves so much that they question the contribution of Goddess Saraswati”.

On Monday, the general secretary of the Dr. Ambedkar Memorial Welfare Society, Ganpat Lal Verma, said that the suspension was “illegal”. Dilawar announcing the suspension publicly has instilled fear in government employees belonging to Scheduled Castes.

The society has written to the chief minister asking that the suspension order against Bairwa be revoked. It also sought that action be taken on the police’s first information report that was lodged against some of the participants who were present at the Republic Day event on Bairwa’s complaint, under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.