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India: Students skip mid-day meal cooked by Dalit

Tuesday 31 January 2017, by siawi3

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/Students-skip-mid-day-meal-cooked-by-Dalit/article17119725.ece

31 JANUARY 2017 12:12 AM IST,
TIKAMGARH (M.P.)

Over 60 students of a government primary school in Madhya Pradesh, 16 of them from the Scheduled Caste category, have been skipping their mid-day meal cooked by a Dalit woman for the last few months.

The shocking issue came to light after the school’s headmaster Ramgopal Gupta wrote to the CEO of the local body at Jatara (tehsil place) in Tikamgargh district.

Mr Gupta said he had written to his superiors about the issue in the past as well but there had been no follow-up action.

The primary school is situated at Madkheda village, 19 km off the district headquarters.

Among the children who have refused to take meal are 16 belonging to a community under the SC category. They have been refusing food saying the cook belonged to a different Dalit community.

The headmaster’s letter mentioned that a student who is not taking the meal said his parents had asked him to not eat the food prepared by the Dalit woman.

Others too echoed the same reason, the letter said.

“Sixty-seven students, including 16 students of the SC category, are not eating the mid-day meal. They aren’t taking the food as it is cooked by a Dalit woman,” Mr Gupta said.

The contract for providing the meal was bagged by a self-help group of the Dalit woman (of which she is the president). – PTI