Often times, a news story fails to be reported by the mainstream media sources because the event fails to make an impact on the national scale. One such category is the events related to the minorities of Pakistan – people who stay outside the national limelight. Sharoon Masih, a Christian student of Grade 9 from Vehari, was also the victim of such ignorance. While his family was begging the authorities to explain his death, the story of his brutal murder was making rounds on social media platforms – pleading to be taken up the by authorities who could take action.

While many criticise those sitting behind their computer screens for futile activism; it was these social media activists who got Sharoon’s story heard.  Prominent activists and common users kept the issue alive by personally investigating and re-posting the story until major publication picked it up. The must be commended for their tenacity and their contribution the national narrative.

However, the other players in the story deserve only condemnation. The episode has highlighted a very critical problem that plagues our educational institutes – religious discrimination that prevails among the student body, and a faculty that is apathetic to this problem.

Before he was beaten to death inside his classroom, there are reports that Sharoon complained of being mistreated by the teachers and his class fellows. He was referred to by derogatory terms for Christians and before his father could complain to the principal, the child had been murdered.

At no point did the institute offer counselling to Sharoon, they did not intervene in the chronic cases of abuse and bullying, and made no effort to sensitize the student body about religious issues. Furthermore, the faculty, when informed of the on-going attack on Sharoon, refused to leave their tea break to break up the fight. This kind of criminally negligent behaviour needs to be punished – unless faculties are held responsible for these sorts of lapses, incidents like these will continue to happen.

It is high time that we hold these institutes accountable as this is not the first incident where a child has lost his life because the teachers were either unaware, nonchalant or a part of the activities taking place at the campus. Mashal Khan was a victim of such negligence as well and his case now lies rotting in the report of the JIT.