What does one say about a cultural practice that it forces young children to sit apart at a school lunch? At the Primary school in Limli village Gujarat Untouchability is scarring a new generation. It is illegal to indulge in any practices of untouchability and you can help stop one instance today.
Call to Action: Call the District Education Officer, GD Kanani on 09909970219 and ask him to ensure that untouchability is eradicated from this primary school
214 students attend the Primary school in Limli village, Muli block, which is in Gujarat’s Surendranagar district. Of these only 12 (mostly Dalit) children eat the government sponsored mid day meal while the ‘upper caste’ children go home for lunch. The reason is that the school cook is Dalit.
"They must go home. Darbar (upper castee) children can't sit with Dalit children.... they can't eat food cooked by a Dalit. Dalit children can eat that. Even other 'upper caste' children like Bharwad and Vaghri don't eat here," explains Vanraj Singh a parent and a staunch believer in the practice.
Neeru reports that neither the principal nor teachers have ben able to do anything about ending this. While the principal brushes the matter under the carpet, a teacher Mehultriverdi admits that any attempts to end this matter in the school have failed. ‘Upper Caste’ parents insist on hiring a new cook; they could then possibly conceive of letting their children eat with Dalit children.
The Government of Gujarat has gone out of its way to prove that untouchability does not exist. It even went so far as saying that manual scavenging did not exist anymore. Several independent studies prove otherwise. In 2009, The Navsarjan trust published an exhaustive study of 1600 villages in Gujarat and found that 98% still practiced untouchability in one form or another. They found that around 58% villages saw this practice creep into mid day meals.
Community Correspondent Neeru Rathod has been a champion for human rights and to end untouchability. Her own zeal to end this comes from having faced several such instances herself as a Dalit. Through this video report she hopes to expose yet another instance of caste-based discrimination and end it.
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