MADURAI: Distressed after allegedly being denied a scholarship by his school, a Class XII Dalit dropout of the Government Higher Secondary School in Allinagaram, in Theni district, tied to immolate himself on Tuesday. However, teachers of the school rescued him and handed him over to police.
Samuel Velraj, a Dalit student who dropped out after passing Class XI due to financial problems, had approached the headmistress seeking scholarship money for the year 2013-14. When she told him she hadn’t receive the money, the teenager doused himself with kerosene and tried to set himself on fire, police said.
A Bagathkhan, district president of SFI, Theni, who conducted an inquiry into the incident, said the scholarship amount was delayed because the headmistress had not processed the student’s application on time. “Instead of sending the application form by November 2013, the headmistress sent it only in April 2014,” Bagathkhan claimed.
“As Samuel Velraj’s family was very poor, he dropped out from class XII after a week of classes,” Bagathkhan said. “Samuel is one among hundreds of Dalit students across the State suffering because school authorities fail to give them the post-matric scholarship on time,” said S Karuppiah, state joint secretary of the Dalit Liberation Movement (DLM).
“For instance, in Madurai district, Dalit students studying at Alanganallur Girls Higher Secondary School and Capron Hall Women Higher Secondary School didn’t receive their scholarship amount for the 2013-2014 academic year. Similarly, students of Aloysius Girls Higher Secondary School in Dharapuran and CSI Higher Secondary School have not received scholarship amounts for last year,” Karuppiah claimed.