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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dalit bias in Narsinghpur school: Fact-finding team

BHOPAL: A contemptible fact has come to the fore in the issue of the alleged discrimination against dalits at the Maregaon village in Narsinghpur district, with a fact-finding team from the capital claiming that the children of the community are being discriminated against at the local school.
Children at the village told the fact-finding team that they are given the leftovers and diluted mid- day meal after the upper caste students had eaten and the food is actually thrown into their plates from a distance to avoid touch.

These children have to bring their utensils from home and wash them. In contrast, upper caste students are provided utensils from the school and the cook washes their utensils.
The children said not only were they made to sit separately at the school but also none of the upper caste students interacted or played with them. Upper caste students often abused them with castebased expletives if any dalit child sat near them.

Also, the teachers never accepted water or tea from their hands and even when guests come to the school, only upper caste students are asked to bring them water/tea, the children reported.

The HT had reported on April 22 about the social boycott of dalits in Maregaon village after they refused to continue with their traditional vocation of lifting and skinning dead cattle. The villagers have complained that they were not being allowed to purchase groceries, grind their grains or have water for themselves or their cattle from the common facilities in the village.
The fact-finding team also found that they were not being allowed to enter the village temple and the village priest does not perform marriage ceremonies of the dalits because of pressure from the upper caste communities.

On Monday, the members of the fact-finding team submitted a memorandum to the State Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights ( SCPCR) demanding action in particular context of discrimination against the children. Memorandums, along with the complete report of the fact-finding team, were also submitted to the office of the chief minister and the MP Human Rights Commission pertaining to the overall caste discrimination in the village. On Tuesday, memorandums will be faxed to the National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC) and the National Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights (NCPCR).

The chairperson of the SCPCR, Usha Chaturvedi said she had received the memorandum and would seek a report on the matter from the district education officer. “The process of inquiry would be started immediately, but we would have to wait for the schools to reopen to check the ground reality ourselves,” Chaturvedi said.

T h e fac t - f i n d i n g t e a m included LS Hardenia of Rashtriya Secular Manch, Upasana Behar of Nagarik Adhikar Manch and Madhukar Sharma of Yuva Samvad.

Sources- Hindustan Times Bhopal-15 May 2012

Deshbandhu-5 May 2012

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