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News18 » India
1-min read

Upper Caste Men Stopped Dalit Students of Rajasthan Govt School from Celebrating R-Day, Claims Principal

In a letter released on social media, principal Dheer Singh Meena claimed that members of the upper caste and OBC community harassed and intimidated them, also stopping them from conducting an awards ceremony to honour Meena girl students.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:January 29, 2020, 7:21 PM IST
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Upper Caste Men Stopped Dalit Students of Rajasthan Govt School from Celebrating R-Day, Claims Principal
School principal Dheer Singh Meena.

New Delhi: A government school in Pratapgarh district of Rajasthan was in for humiliation on Republic Day when its principal was threatened from unfurling the national flag at a function.

Principal Dheer Singh Meena has alleged that members of the upper caste and OBC community harassed and intimidated them, also threatening them against unfurling the tricolour, performing cultural events, and conducting an awards ceremony to honour Meena girl students.

In a letter written on January 26, Meena narrated the sequence of events that he says has undermined his faith in the republic and the Constitution. The letter, shared on social media on Wednesday, aims to create awareness about the issue and seek help to prevent further intimidation of SC/ST students.

A day later, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Safai Mazdoor Congress, Anusuchit Jaati Janjati Arakshan Manch and Bahujan Kranti Morcha wrote to the Pratapgarh District Magistrate, demanding an inquiry into the matter.

"I am Dheer Singh Meena, principal of government school Khunta block Pratapgarh district. On January 26, 2020, general and OBC community members didn't allow us to unfurl the national flag," he wrote.

"The administration was a mute spectator as casteist slurs were hurled at us. We were unable to stage a cultural programme. Despite BR Ambedkar and the Indian Constitution, we are still slaves," he added.

The school is made up of 99% Dalit students, said Meena. "The exam results are 100% and 12 girls from Meena community were supposed to get Scooties. We were supposed to announce the name from the stage but we were stopped from conducting these events," he wrote.

Speaking to News18 over phone, Meena said the school's story is "a reminder that we are not free from the atrocities of caste".

"We had to call the police so that the flag could be unfurled. Everyone saw how we were called names," he said, adding that he was surrounded by upper-caste men when he arrived at the school early in the morning. "The humiliation is not new, I am always abused for sitting on a chair in the school – I am asked why I have to sit on a chair? Our students were waiting to get awards; now they are disenchanted and scared."

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| Edited by: Moonmoon Ghosh
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