Monday, September 20, 2004

Three Dalits made to sit separately

Hamirpur

Mr Onkar Bhatia, Vice- President of the Dalit, OBC and ST employees’ Federation, has taken a strong notice of the incident in a boy’s primary school, Nadaun, in the district yesterday in which three Dalit students were made to sit separately by teachers when they were being served their mid-day meal.

The meal scheme was started in the state under the direction of the Supreme Court. Mr Onkar Bhatia has demanded the registration of a criminal case against the teachers concerned . In a statement, he said it was a serious issue that Dalits were still discriminated against in the state.

Vijay, Monu and Vipan, class fifth students of the school, told reporters that they were asked by their teachers that from tomorrow onwards they would have to sit separately. Balbir Singh, Sarla Devi, Veena Devi, Bhandari Ram, Mansa Devi and Chhotu Ram,their parents, were very upset over the step motherly treatment being meted out to their children in schools. They said they would meet the local MLA, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Sukhoo, and the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, in this regard.

However, Mr Ishwar Parmar, Headmaster of the school, said students sat in a separate row on their own and it was wrong to say that they were made to sit separately by the school staff. Mr Onkar Bhatia, alleged that there were many cases of atrocities on Dalits in Mandi, Kullu, Sirmaur and Shimla districts but the state government was sleeping over the situation. He warned the state government that the federation would hold dharnas at all district headquarters if no action was taken against those discriminating against Dalits. When contacted,Mr Devesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, said that if this incident had happened it was most unfortunate. He said he would direct the Deputy Director of Education (Primary) to inquire into the matter. The Deputy Director of Education was not available for comments. The Nadaun police visited houses of Dalit students to seek their statement.

Source: The Tribune, September 20, 2004

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