In six months, the Uttarakhand government is seeing a re-run of the same controversy where upper caste schoolchildren are boycotting the meals prepared by a Dalit cook. The Principal of the school in the Champawat district said that nearly eight children refused to eat the food cooked by Sunita Devi, who had previously been sacked after the row in December 2021. However, she was reappointed later, and the midday meals had resumed in March.
In the latest episode, Champawat District Magistrate, Narender Singh Bhandari, had a meeting with the parents of the children and asked them to ensure that they had their meals. The Principal of Swatantra Sangram Senani, Late Shri Ram Chandra Government Inter College in Jaul village, said that the district magistrate and other police officials had a meeting with the students and parents to convince them not to boycott the meals. " However, these 7-8 students still refused to eat, claiming they do not eat rice", The Indian Express reported.
Parents Requested School Not To Pressurize Students
Moreover, the school Principal had also held a meeting with the parents of the children and had warned the parents that the children would be expelled from the school. On the other hand, the parents had assured the school authorities that they would speak to their children regarding eating their midday meals in school and requested not to put any undue pressure on the children.
In December last year, around 66 students in the government school had declined to eat the meals cooked by Sunita. On December 23, Champawat district officials cited procedural lapses in her appointment and sacked her. Sunita Devi then filed a complaint under the Prohibition of Atrocities against SCs/ STs and Section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. Soon after the complaint, the district administration announced that she would be reinstated.