Midday meal row, tension prevails in Kuppegala

Tension prevailed at Kuppegala village, in the taluk, as members of Dalit Rakshana Vedike demanded filing of Dalit atrocity cases against two parents, who objected to their children consuming food, under the mid-day meal scheme in the local government school, along with children of other castes, on Monday.

District Armed Reserve Police personnel have been deployed in the village and surrounding areas as a precautionary measure.

Puttaswamygowda, president of the School Development Monitoring Committee of the Government Higher Primary School of Kuppegala, in which Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is an alumnus, said, all parents had been convinced to send their wards to school and also allow participation in Akshara Dasoha scheme, during a recently convened meeting.
“However, a few parents have spoken against their children consuming food in the school along with their school mates belonging to various communities. It is unfortunate,” he said.

Warning

Recently, the media had highlighted that students of a few communities were not eating food in the Kuppegala school as the cook was a Dalit woman. Last week, officials concerned had visited the village and had warned of filing Dalit atrocity cases against those who were not allowing their children’s participation in the mid-day meal scheme.

Following this, many parents did not send their wards to the school. However, a meeting was convened on Sunday to convince the parents. Even though the attendance improved on Monday, with 133 students out of the total 150 attending classes, 48 students had brought food in lunch boxes from home.

The cook Manjula and three more staffers of the school prepared food on Monday and made the students sit together for lunch. The school authorities did not allow the students to open their lunch boxes and served uniform food.

Former SDMC president Siddegowda and one Prakash, who learnt about the development, rushed to the school and objected to their children eating food with other children.
“We are sending our children to school for education, not food. If the authorities force them to have food, we will not send them to school,” they said. This led to a heated exchange of words between the parents and the authorities. Later all 48 students, who had lunch boxes, had their own lunch.

District Social Welfare Officer Saraswathi, Aksharadasoha Programme Officer Uday Kumar and BEO Vivekananda took the written statement of Headmaster Chikkadeva regarding the incident.
DH News Service

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