UP students refuse meal cooked by Dalit
Lucknow, September 8 As many as 70 of the 76 students enrolled at a village primary school in Sitapur’s Pisawan block refused to partake of midday meal on Friday, complaining that it had been prepared by a Dalit woman.
The meal — roti and potato curry — had to be thrown away, said Golu Singh, a local.
The regular cook, a Yadav, had taken a day off and the school staff had asked Rama Devi, a local woman from the Arakh caste (listed as a Scheduled Caste), to fill in for him. As the word spread around the village, children’s parents gathered to protest a “lower caste” woman cooking food for their children.
Headmaster Manoj Kumar said he tried to reason with the parents when they asked their children not to have the food, but to no avail.
Palharia village has 50-odd households, mostly belonging of the Yadavs and the Brahmins. Only a handful of Dalits live there. District Basic Education Officer Ajay Kumar said he would look into the incident when the school reopened on Monday.
Maholi SDM Neeraj Prasad promised action if the Dalit cook lodged a complaint.
Retired IPS officer SR Darapuri demanded a probe. He said boycotting food prepared by a Dalit was in violation of a government order. The order issued under the direction of the SC had asked the government to ensure people from socially backward castes to be hired as cooks to eradicate caste-based discrimination, he said.
Source: The Tribune, Sept 08, 2018