In a case which reveals deep-rooted casteism, a teacher asked a 13-year-old girl to reveal her caste in front of the class. When the girl hesitantly told him that she was a Valmiki (Dalit), she was made to leave her front row seat to sit on the last bench. The incident happened in a school in Muzaffarnagar on Tuesday.
The little girl was extremely upset and narrated her ordeal to her parents. Infuriated by the incident, the parents approached the school to seek redressal. They even protested to move the authorities into taking an action against the teacher. A police complaint was filed and an investigation is currently underway.
The school principal, Rajni Goel has denied all allegations against the teacher.
“I have personally inquired into the matter and have found out that she was chatting with some other girls during the class. That is why she was asked to sit on the last bench. Students creating indiscipline are generally made to do so,” she said, reported the TOI.
Samaypal Atri, senior sub-inspector, Nagar Kotwali police station, told the TOI, “The girl’s parents and relatives created ruckus at the school. We arrived there and pacified them. We have received their complaint and are looking into the matter.”
In the past as well, Muzaffarnagar has remained a hotspot for caste conflicts. Last year, there were violent clashes between the dalits and the Thakur community. It left 18 people seriously injured. Thakur community was charged with rioting and damaging a statue of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. The clashes resulted in a large number of dalits fleeing their villages.
Last month, it was revealed that more than 1 lakh students of Kerela government schools chose to leave the ‘caste’ column in their forms blank. While such steps might not be enough in themselves, they do reflect a strong attitude of younger parents towards change.
Recently, the Haryana government asked in forms if parents of school children are “engaged in any unclean occupation”. This also caused a massive uproar, after which the words were removed.
Caste conflicts have been a grave reality of India even after several decades of independence. In this light, asking a 13-year-old girl her caste and giving her inferior treatment on its basis is saddening. Schools must remain neutral learning grounds, where discrimination of any sort is inadmissible.
Also Read: Khap Action In Inter-Caste Marriages Illegal, Says SC
Nimisha is an intern with SheThePeople.TV