Students refuse food cooked by Dalits; principal suspended

Friday, July 09, 2010, 15:35 IST

Lucknow: The principal of a government-run school in Uttar Pradesh’s Ramabai Nagar district was suspended for inaction and negligence after students refused to eat the midday meal prepared by two Dalit cooks, officials said on Friday.

A probe has also been initiated against Jasapur Primary School principal Maan Singh and district education officials, including senior official Anil Rawat, as they knew that several upper-caste students of the school were not eating the meal prepared by the Dalit women.

They neither took any step to solve the case nor informed other senior officials about it.

“It’s a serious matter. They should have acted timely. Preliminary enquiry indicates that the principal, and education officials tried to cover up the matter,” Sanjay Kumar, official in-charge of primary education, told reporters in Ramabai Nagar.

“We have suspended the principal and will take strict action against other officials also,” he said.

“During an inspection on Thursday, it came to the fore that students belonging to upper castes were not eating the midday meal that was prepared by two Dalit women, who were appointed as cooks recently at the school,” he added.

The Jasapur primary school is in Sandalpur block, some 300 km from Lucknow.

About 150,000 schools are covered under the midday meal scheme in Uttar Pradesh, officials said.

The National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education, also known as Mid-Day Meal Programme, was launched as a centrally-sponsored scheme on August 15, 1995.

Its objective is to boost universalisation of primary education and improve the nutritional status of the food being given to the children, the officials added.


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