Lucknow: After roti-salt midday meal in Mirzapur, children of a government primary school in Ballia district have now hit the headlines for refusing to share meal with their Dalit classmates. The students apparently also brought their own plates to the school.
One of the students of the school claimed that since anyone can eat from the plates available in the school, some upper caste children have started bringing their own utensil. Some reports said that the students have also opted to sit in a separate group while having meals.
When questioned on the issue, principal of Rampur primary school admitted that children of his school were bringing their own plates despite being asked not to do so several times. “All the students are asked to sit together and eat in the plates provided by the school. But some students from upper caste are adamant on bringing their own plates and prefer not to sit and eat with backward caste students,” he said, adding that "teachings at home" give rise to such thoughts.
The incident was condemned by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who called the act "heart-breaking". "The news from government school in Ballia about Dalit students sitting separately for meal is heart breaking and highly condemnable. BSP demands that people practicing untouchability should be dealt with strictness so that others can learn from this and it is not repeated,” she tweeted.
Earlier, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government after taking note of reports that mid-day meals served to students in a government school consisted of just chapatis and salt.
The notice was served after a video of children eating the meal was widely shared on social media. Around 100 students from Class 1 to Class 8 of the Siyur primary school in Mirzapur’s Jamalpur block were served this lunch. Two people, including a teacher, were suspended after the incident.