Quarantined youth, 23, refuses to eat food cooked by Dalit woman in Nainital, booked
Nainital: A 23-year-old youth, serving quarantine in a Nainital village, has been booked for allegedly refusing to eat food or drink water touched by a Dalit woman cook. The case was registered against Dinesh Chandra Milkani on the basis of a complaint filed by pradhan of Nainital’s Bhumka village.
Milkani, his 12-year-old nephew and three others are serving quarantine in a government primary school in the village since May 15. Bhawani Devi, who belongs to Dalit community, has been tasked with preparing meals for the inmates.
Speaking to TOI, Devi said that on May 15, she had prepared the food for all the quarantined people.
“While the rest ate it, Dinesh said his food will come from his home. I thought it was normal, so I did not say anything. However later he also refused to drink water touched by me,” she alleged.
As the word spread, village head Mukesh Chandra Baudhh confronted Milkani. The village head said, “Milkani said that his food will be delivered by his family. But, when we asked him to drink water touched by Devi, he refused again. It was a clear case of caste discrimination so I lodged a complaint with officials.”
On his part, Milkani denied the allegation arguing that he was not well and needed the home-cooked food.
When TOI asked him about his illness, he said, “‘Mere upar devta aate hain’ (I get possessed by deity)”.
“The allegation that I refused to eat food because the woman belongs to a lower caste is false. I always eat home-cooked food and therefore I refused the food. There is no case of caste discrimination. And I do not eat food prepared by others because sometimes I get possessed by the deity,” he said.
But the village head said that even drinking water for Milkani is delivered by his family. “They have refused to let anyone touch the food delivered by their family. The food is left at the gate. They even drink water delivered by their family,” Buadhh said.
According to revenue officials, Milkani has now been booked under section 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection), section 271 (disobedience to quarantine rule) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as under relevant sections of the SC/ST Act.
Meanwhile, Nainital district magistrate Savin Bansal said that he has ordered an inquiry. “I was told about the incident after which I asked for an inquiry report. Appropriate action will be taken in the case if the charges are found to be true,” he said.
Courtesy : TNN