Days after a journalist and a representative of the pradhan of Seur village were booked for allegedly conspiring to make a video of students being served roti and salt at a government primary school, parents have stopped sending their children to the institution in protest against the district administration.
On Thursday, only one student reportedly attended the school.
The district administration had lodged a complaint against local journalist Pawan Jaiswal and the representative of the pradhan, Rajkumar Pal, on the basis of which police booked them for criminal conspiracy and “maligning the image of the state government”.
The local residents have collectively decided to boycott the school, said a villager, Mangru Prasad (41), whose three nieces study in the school. “Why should we send our children to a school where they are served roti and salt (under Midday Meal scheme)? And then, the administration has lodged a complaint against those who exposed this. This is wrong. We support the journalist and the representative of the pradhan,” said Prasad over the phone on Friday.
Pictures and videos of the one student, who identified himself as Sukhram, attending the school on Thursday has also gone viral on social media. “I was alone in the school today (Thursday),” the student is heard saying in the video.
Pradeep Kumar Singh, Block Education Officer of Jamalpur, under which the school falls, told The Indian Express that “very few students had come to the school on Thursday”. “We conducted a drive and spoke to most parents today (Friday) and convinced them to send their children back to the school,” said Singh.
He added “some people with vested interests” had told the parents in the village to stop sending their children to the school. “We spoke to the parents and the response has been positive. Today (Friday), 37 children attended the school,” said Singh. The school has a total of 97 students.
Prasad, however, said they will collectively decide if they want to send their children back to the school.
The Indian Express had on Wednesday reported that even a week before the video was recorded by Jansandesh Times correspondent Jaiswal, the government primary school had served a meal of only rice and salt to the children.
On Tuesday, when asked why the journalist has been booked, District Magistrate Anurag Patel said, “The way to report news is different. I will make you hear the video where a person is heard calling him and saying that I am conspiring and you come and help me make this video.”
The DM also said, “He is a print journalist and could have taken photographs. He could have written about what was being done there. He did not do so and hence his role seems doubtful and therefore, he has been booked under IPC Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy).”