Dalit cook in Karnataka school shunned, students continue to refuse food cooked by her
news Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 05:30
Nayantara N | The News Minute | December 2, 2014 | 17. 16 pm IST For the last one month, a tense atmosphere has been prevailing at the Government Higher Primary school in Kuppegala near Mysuru district. Few students have either not been attending classes or have refused to eat the mid-day meal prepared at the school as the food is cooked by a dalit woman. The post of the assistant cook is reserved for a SC candidate and had remained vacant for the past six years. On September 22, Manjula from the dalit community was appointed and had resumed her responsibilities after the Dasara vacation. However, upper caste villagers had protested her appointment and parents have threatened the school head master that they would not send their children to school. Incidentally, CM Siddaramiah is the alumnus of the school. Superintendent of Police, Mysuru, Abhinav Kare said, â€śTwo leaders got wind of the children being served lunch and they immediately rushed to the school to prevent a few children from consuming it. They claim that the food is not prepared well and it is causing stomach upset in the children. However, it is not true. There is caste equation to the entire issue.â€ť Siddegowda, former Chairman of School Development Monitoring Committee is leading these protests. The Principal of the school, Chikkadeva has lodged a complaint with the police that few leaders are preventing school children from consuming mid-meal. The Dalit Rakshana Vedike had demanded that a dalit atrocities case be lodged. â€śThe Principal has not mentioned anything about the caste factor in the complaint. Hence we cannot bring the Dalit atrocities section. The complaint is not cognizable but we have ordered for an enquiry and based on that report we shall decide on filing the FIR,â€ť said the police officer. Uday Shankar, Aksharadasoha Programme Officer told The News Minute that they had the food tested and found nothing wrong with the quality of food. Ruling out any political involvement, Uday Shankar has said this just caste and community based issue and must be resolved internally. â€śIt is the mindset of people that has to be changed. Few people from the upper castes are the reason for the tension. Once the matter cools down, we will convene a meeting with the villagers and pacify them,â€ť he said. On Tuesday too about 10-15 students have did not attend classes but the situation remained largely peaceful, he said.