No signs of caste discrimination at Shivpuri schoo
An inspection team, including members from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, found no signs of caste discrimination at a school, and equal access to the common hand-pump at Bhavkhedi village of Shivpuri district, said Deputy Collector Pallavi Vaidya.
The Commission, along with members of the district administration, recently visited the village where, on September 25, two Dalit children were allegedly beaten to death by upper caste men for defecating in the open.
“Everything was normal in the school,” said Ms. Vaidya, part of the team. “We spoke with students and they were sitting with their friends in classrooms. It wasn’t like those belonging to certain castes were made to sit separately or in the corner. There was no caste discrimination in seating arrangements per se.”
Bablu Valmik (name changed), whose sister and son were the victims, had earlier told The Hindu that children of the family — the only Mehtar family in the village — were not allowed to sit along with Yadav children on benches. As a result, they had to drop out. They were asked by teachers to bring leaves from home to sit on the floor.
Even for the mid-day meal, he had claimed, Dalit children were asked to bring separate utensils.
The team had visited each classroom of the Classes VI, VII and VIII that were in session during the inspection and asked students whether they were asked to bring separate utensils from home. “They replied everyone was provided with utensils in the school itself,” said Ms. Vaidya.
Access to the common hand-pump in the village was difficult for the family, Mr. Valmik had claimed, stating that they had to wait for others to fill water first every day for at least two hours before procuring water for themselves.
“We asked villagers if they did not allow Dalits to take water from the only hand-pump. They denied it saying everyone had equal access to water in the village,” said Ms. Vaidya.
The team, contrary to Mr. Valmik’s claim that the family’s children were made to sweep the school and clean its toilets, was told by the school authorities that there was a separate cleaner on contract for the jobs.
The police are investigating the caste angle to the case, which was registered under Section 302 (punishment for murder) and Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 3(2)(V) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
Courtesy : The Hindu