New Delhi: A government-run high school in Himachal’s Kullu district segregated its Dalit students on Friday, February 17, and told them to sit outside in a “place used for horses” during the telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Pariksha Par Charcha.’
According to the Indian Express, the school in Kullu’s Chestha gram panchayat had arranged for students to watch at the residence of the head of the school management committee the televised programme of the prime minister offering advise on exam preparation and clearing Board exams.
In a written complaint to the Kullu deputy commissioner Yunus, a few students alleged that a teacher asked them to sit separately, outside the room where the television had been set up, and warned against leaving mid-way. According to the complaint – written in Hindi on a school notebook – the teacher, Mehar Chand, warned the students that they would lose assignment marks if they did not abide.
“Students belonging to Scheduled Caste category are made to sit separately. Even the headmaster does nothing… he also practices untouchability,” they said, according to the English daily.
The deputy commissioner termed it a “serious matter” and said a magisterial probe has been ordered into the incident. “Disciplinary action has already been initiated against the headmaster. If the incident is confirmed, criminal liability will be fixed,” he said. An enquiry committee is scheduled to visit the school today, February 19.
A member of a local organisation, Anusuchit Jati Kalyan Sangh, claimed that the school’s headmaster, Rajan Bhardwaj, had “confirmed the incident and tendered an apology.” On Saturday, the group had lodged a protest with Bhardwaj, and deputy director of education, Kullu, Jagdish Pathania, after a purported clip of the incident surfaced.
Suresh Bhardwaj, the state education minister, said that besides the recent incident, Dalit students earlier had faced discrimination during midday meals as well. “If these reports are true, we will not spare the guilty,” he said.