As many as 67 students, including 16 kids belonging to scheduled caste category, of a government primary school are reportedly not having lunch prepared by a Dalit woman for the mid-day meal since July. The development came to light after the school headmaster Ramgopal Gupta shot off a letter to Jatara Janpad CEO P K Mishra on Sunday.
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Gupta said that in the past also he has written two to three letters to the seniors about the discrimination but to no avail. The primary school (Class I to V) situated at Madkheda area 19 km off the district headquarters, has 89 students including 22 kids of SC category (Vanshkar) to which the Dalit woman also belongs.
These 22 children of Vanshkar community were taking their meal but 16 other Dalit students of Ahirwar community aren’t joining them revealing that a caste divide was prevalent in the SC category too, claims the letter written by the head master.
A student who is not taking meal said that his parents have asked him not to eat the food prepared by the Dalit woman. The others too echo the same reason, says the letter.
“Sixty-seven students, including 16 students of SC category – Ahirwar, are not eating meal. They aren’t taking the food as it is cooked by a Dalit woman,” Gupta told PTI today.
Malti is the president of Maa Laxmi Self Help Group, which has bagged order for supplying food to the school since July, Gupta said.
He said that 89 students took meals for three months when Malti had hired a woman of Kushwaha community which was part of Other Backward Classes (OBC) to cook food for them.
“But something went wrong between the two following which Malti again started cooking food,” he added.
“I have taken a serious view of the development. I am going to take tough action in this case,” Jatara Janpad CEO Mishra said.
Jatara Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Aditya Singh said that he hasn’t received a complaint of the discrimination yet. There is a need to educate the students, he added.
Collector Priyanka Das couldn’t be contacted after repeated calls.