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New Delhi: The headmistress of a government primary school in Uttar Pradesh has been suspended after it was found that mid-day meal plates of students belonging to the Scheduled Castes were being kept separately and the same section of students were made to wash their plates themselves as school employees were unwilling to touch them, Indian Express has reported.
Out of the 80 children at Daudapur Government Primary School in Mainpuri district, 60 are from the Scheduled Castes. However, only the utensils of the children who were from the General and Backward categories were being kept in the kitchen.
Videos, purportedly from the school, have been shared on social media in the past few days.
Caste discrimination in schools.
In a primary school in UP’s Mainpuri, utensils of SC children were kept separately. They can’t keep utensils in the kitchen. But why? Does this hurt the caste pride of the principal? Yes!! #CrushTheCaste pic.twitter.com/r14m8c37el
— Mission Ambedkar (@MissionAmbedkar) September 25, 2021
In the above clip some children can be heard telling the person shooting the video that a section of the utensils are kept in the kitchen while theirs are not.
Two cooks who had said they would not touch the utensils used by the majority of the students were dismissed from service.
A complaint of caste discrimination was made earlier this month to authorities by the husband of a newly elected sarpanch, Manju Devi, who had been contacted by the parents of some of the students.
When Manju Devi’s husband, Sahab Singh, visited the school, he found that the claims were true. Local journalists and authorities soon took up the matter.
Mainpuri Basic Shiksha Adhikari Kamal Singh told Indian Express that when the Block Development Officer and other officials visited the school, they found the cooks indeed refusing to touch the utensils of SC students and using casteist slurs.
Sahab Singh told Express that around 35% of the population of the village is Dalit, and that Thakurs make up a similar number, while the rest belong to the Backward Classes.