Students of a primary school in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district refused to eat the mid-day meal prepared by a cook from a Scheduled Caste, following which the food was discarded.
The incident took place in Sitapur’s Palharia village, which is dominated by Yadavs and Brahmins. As the word spread that a ‘lower’ caste woman was cooking the meal, parents gathered at the school and protested against her hiring, Firstpost reported.
Eventually, only six of the 76 students ate the food, while the remaining rotis and potato curry had to be discarded.
The woman cook, who belonged to the Arakh caste, was temporarily filling in for the regular cook, a Yadav. School principal Manoj Kumar said he tried to make the parents see reason but they refused to listen.
Condemning the incident, former IPS officer and social activist SR Darapuri sought an inquiry. He said boycotting the cook violated an order of the Uttar Pradesh government that was issued as per the direction of the Supreme Court. The order sought that people from socially backward castes be hired as cooks to eradicate the concept of caste-based discrimination from the childrens’ minds.
District basic education officer Ajay Kumar refused to comment on the incident.