Schoolmates shun Dalits during midday meal in UP’s primary school

first_imgA government primary school in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia district has landed in a caste discrimination controversy after some students did not have their midday meals alongside Dalit schoolmates.The matter came to light after a video of the school during the midday meal session, apparently shot by media persons, was widely shared on social media. Mayawati reactsWhile Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati demanded strict legal action by the State government against those guilty of “such disgusting casteist discrimination”, the district administration said the complaints of caste-based discrimination were prima facie “entirely baseless”.But P. Gupta, principal of the Rampur-1 primary school, admitted to “slight discrimination” that the Dalit students faced from others. He said some of the other students do not want to eat in the same plates as Dalit students — they bring their own plates and eat separately.“We make them sit in a line but they — perhaps they get taught that at home — display slight discrimination,” said Mr. Gupta.Despite warning the students several times and teaching them about equality, Mr. Gupta said they sit and eat in their allotted lines for a short while but once the teachers move away, move out and eat separately.Ballia DM’s denialThe school has mostly Dalit and Scheduled Tribe students with a few coming from the OBC communities, said the principal.Ballia DM Bhawani Singh Khangarot, who went on an inspection of the school, said there was no basis to show any discrimination. “All students said it (report of caste-based discrimination) was incorrect,” he said.However, Mr. Khangarot said a detailed probe would be conducted under a joint magisterial-level officer and testimonies of the students as well as their guardians recorded.last_img

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