Uttar Pradesh: Dalit school children thrashed, made to sit separately in Amethi

Second case of discrimination in a week, exposes deep caste based prejudices in the state’s schools 


While the shock at news over the segregation of untensils used by Dalit students in a  government school of Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh was yet to die down another incident was reported from a government school in Amethi. Kusum Soni, Principal of primary school in Gaderi in Sangrampur area, has been accused of allegedly forming a “separate queue of Dalit children” when they are served the midday meal. According to news reports, an FIR has been registered against Kusum Soni, under sections of the SC/ST Atrocities Prevention Act. 

The case had been reported to District Magistrate (DM) Arun Kumar who ordered a probe by Basic Siksha Adhikari (BSA), and the principal was suspended, reported the Indian Express. The complaint against Soni detailed how the school was discriminating against the Dalit children and made them stand in separate queues, during the mid day meal. 

According to the IE, a student of Banpurwa Government Primary School recalled how “the headmistress would make Dalit students like her queue up separately during the mid-day meal,” adding that the Dalit children were also often “beaten up for the smallest of reasons.” The Banpurwa Government Primary School has 38 students, 23 of them belonging to Scheduled Castes, 11 OBCs and four from the general category reported IE, adding that students hailed from three neighbouring villages. It further said that Banpurwa had “an entirely SC population”; Ganderi village had a “mixed population of SCs and OBCs”; and Dubane Purwa, was “dominated by Brahmins.”

The report added that when the Dalit families’ complaints about the disctimination and beatings reached Vinay Kumar, the Ganderi village’s pradhan, he filed a complaint with the local SHO against Soni, accusing her of caste discrimination. Kumar told the media that he investigated the complaints too. He said, “I went to the school along with my representative Pawan Dubey and did not find the headmistress,” he said in his complaint, adding that parents had also said their children were beaten up. According to IE, in his complaint, “Jagnarayan, a farmer, accused Soni of beating up his grandson for complaining against her to him and the pradhan. He added that Sonu’s other daughter Divyanshi too was beaten up.”

Basic Siksha Adhikari Arvind Pathak told the media that he visited the school and “talked to some guardians who alleged discrimination against their children over caste. They said the headmistress ordered Dalit students to sit in separate rows for the mid-day meal.” The headmistress has denied all allegations reported IE, “I have been working at Banpurwa Government Primary School for over four years and only now such baseless allegations have been made. This whole thing started because I was late for school one day.” 

Meanwhile, Amethi’s high profile MP, Smriti Irani is being called out for her silence on the issue. 






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