Dalit Students in Uttrakhand Boycott Mid-Day Meals to Protest Dismissal of Low-Caste Cook


The Dalit cook was removed as upper caste students refused to eat the food prepared by her

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Dalit students of a government inter-college in Champawat, Uttrakhand, set fine a fine example of fighting discrimination. They boycotted mid-day meal prepared by an upper caste woman, who was appointed as a replacement for one from their own community. The Dalit cook was removed from the job as some upper caste students refused to eat the food prepared by her citing her low background.

Giving details of the incident, a report in the Times of India said the Dalit children boycotted the meals cooked at bhojanmata (cook) February 23 as a mark of protest against the decision of the college authorities that smacked of casteist discrimination. They instead brought their meals from home.

The matter snowballed into a major issue even as the Dalit students refused to budge. So much so that Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhammi ordered an inquiry into the issue after the principal of the institute apprised the Block Development Officer.

“The district magistrate has formed a committee which will conduct a fair probe. Also, we will ensure that a bhojanmata is recruited in keeping with all the rules,” Himanshu Kafaltia, SDM Tanakpur was quoted in the TOI report.

The Dalit woman had joined the institute as Bhojanmataon on December 13. But the next day students belonging to Hindu upper castes refused to accept meals she cooked. The chief education officer of the district, RC Purohit, after reviewing the matter dismissed her services, said the report.

A parent-teacher association slammed the institute for appointing a Dalit woman as cook alleging she was hired without the approval from the deputy education officer. The matter exposed the faultlines among different caste groups in the area.

Another controversy of similar nature was reported from the same area in which some upper caste members of gram sabha tendered resignation in as the gram pradhan belongs to a lower caste.

They had to withdraw their resignation after officials intervened.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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