Bhopal: The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government sought to deflect blame after stationary kits labelled ‘SC/ST Scheme’ were handed to students from the said SC/ST communities at a government college in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district, inviting allegations of caste profiling.
Nearly 250 students from SC/ST communities were given the labelled bags at the Rajiv Gandhi Government PG College, making them vulnerable to caste-based discrimination.
The students welcomed the initiative but were upset over the labelling of the bags.
Suggesting that the decision to label the bags may have been taken at the “regional level”, the state’s higher education minister Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya said: "When the matter came to light, the officials were ordered to issue notice and investigate the matter. Such incidents disturb the unity of students," said Pawaiya.
The government has also issued a “warning” to the college, which in turn said the bags were distributed under the SC/ST welfare scheme of the state government. "We worked as per the instructions of the government," said Sushil Tanwar, distribution officer of the college.
The college principal, however, declined to address the media. He earlier said he would ensure the labelling was removed from bags that were yet to be distributed.
The opposition Congress was quick to criticise the BJP government in the state and gave a memorandum to Mandsaur SDM NS Rajawat on Friday.