SC prevented from cooking in TN school

SC prevented from cooking in TN school

Parents of a government school in Salem district have objected to a woman belonging to Scheduled Caste cooking midday meals for students, an incident that serves as a grim reminder that untouchability is deep-rooted in the society.

Three persons who objected to the woman’s appointment and held a protest outside the school have been arrested and a manhunt has been launched to bring to book remaining three, including the headmaster of the school, Sekar, who are still at large.

The shocking incident took place in Kuppankottai government primary school last week when Jothi, the woman, took charge as cook. After learning of her caste, parents of some children held a protest demanding that Jothi be shifted out and she should not be allowed to cook for their wards. 

However, the parents relented after the district authorities convinced them and ruled out shifting the woman out of the school. The shocking incident comes just a couple of months after a similar controversy had erupted in a government school in Tirupur district, where a group of caste Hindus had objected to a SC woman cooking meal for the students.

“Immediately after the incident came to light, the Theevattipatti police lodged a FIR and arrested three people who have been remanded to judicial custody. The investigations are on and police would arrest the remaining three very soon,” Salem district collector Rohini R Bhajibhakare told DH.

Cases against the six have been filed under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, sources said, adding that the headmaster is believed to have stayed as a silent spectator and is also alleged to have sided with the parents.

The collector told DH that she has instructed the district education officer to take suitable “disciplinary action” against the government servant. “We have also re-issued circulars to schools across the districts to ensure that such incidents don’t recur. Already, all schools have been instructed not to entertain any caste-based biases and this circular is being sent again because of the latest incident,” Rohini said.