A few days ago in Karur, Tamil Nadu, a sad incident took place in a government school under the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme due to caste-based discrimination. Shockingly, students hailing from the Most Backward Class refused to eat the breakfast prepared by a Dalit woman cook. This incident sparked outrage and controversy, as it appeared to be a clear case of caste discrimination.
The misleading news, which quickly gained attention, was initially shared by many users, such as @ambedkariteIND, @news24tvchannel, @Manjeetsnotiyal, @DalitTime and @JournoMirror, who shared the video with claims that students in a government school declined to have breakfast because a Dalit woman had prepared it. These students were from the Backward Class or Most Backward Class families. The story quickly spread through various media outlets.
District Collector’s Intervention:
T Prabhushankar, the district collector of Karur, along with other officials, took immediate action when they discovered that out of 27 students at a panchayat union primary school in Velanchettiyur, only 12 had breakfast. The parents of the remaining students claimed that their children ate at home before coming to school. However, this was not the real reason for the meal boycott.
Upon investigation, it was revealed that the students from non-Dalit backgrounds were hesitant to eat the food prepared by M Sumathi, a woman from the Dalit Arunthathiyar community. Despite counselling against caste-based discrimination, only two non-Dalit students ate breakfast.
In response, Prabhushankar and other officials decided to make a surprise visit to the school. They sampled the food cooked by Sumathi and found no fault with it. The collector strongly emphasized that discrimination in any form would not be tolerated. He made it clear that the law, specifically the Prevention of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, would be invoked if anyone refused to accept food prepared by a Scheduled Caste individual.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the persistence of caste-based discrimination in certain parts of India. It also highlights the importance of promoting equality and inclusivity in education and society. Discrimination in any form is a violation of human rights and must be condemned. You can refer to the findings of this inquiry in the Twitter thread embedded below. For better clarity, you can refer to an article by Indian Express [archive].
Facts & Claim
Claim: In Karur, students refused breakfast cooked by a Dalit woman due to caste-based discrimination.
Fact: Students, including those from the Most Backward Class, hesitated to eat food prepared by a Dalit woman but were encouraged to overcome this prejudice.
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