Caste Hindus in Adaiyur panchayat, five km from Tiruvannamalai town, have refused to send their children to the Panchayat Union Middle School after the school administration admitted two Scheduled Caste students.
The caste discrimination came to light after the headmaster of the Panchayat Union Middle School, Mohammed Ushman, admitted Kumar’s sons, Sathish (11) in Class VI and Muthuraj (6) in Class I.
“Kumar, a coolie and resident of Adaiyur Colony, shifted his sons from the Adi Dravidar school to the panchayat school as he was not happy with the teaching. He admitted his children on June 6 which the villagers objected,” said one of the teachers in the school.
A group of 50 Caste Hindus gheraoed the school on Monday morning and questioned the headmaster over the admission of SC students. “Of the 136 students, only nine students came to school in the morning. After the efforts of the revenue and education department officials, the attendance went up to around 78,” said another teacher. Sources in the education department said that the panchayat has two middle schools - Adi Dravidar Welfare Middle School and Panchayat Union Middle School.
While the colony people admitted their wards to the Adi Dravidar Welfare School, that was constructed in 1947 and upgraded to a middle school in 1999, Caste Hindus enrolled their children to the Panchayat School that was established in 1926 and upgraded to a middle school in 1999, they added.
“This pattern of admitting the children has been followed all these years. For the first time, two students from the SC community were admitted in this school, that created an unfriendly atmosphere here,” said a source.
“The panchayat is dominated by SC community, while Vaniyars, Mudaliars and people of other communities live in the village. There was no communal problem in the village till date. The villagers fear that even a small tiff between the students of Caste Hindus and the SCs would lead to a communal clash. So the villagers wanted to follow the existing practice to avoid any untoward incidents in the future,” said panchayat president R Ramamurthy.
He said that they have persuaded around 60 to 70 parents, who later sent their wards to the school. “We have to wait till Wednesday to find out whether others will send their children or not,” he added.
District Collector Vijay Pingale said, “We have found an amicable solution to the problem after Tiruvannamalai RDO A Bhoopathy and Tasildar Ravichandran spoke to the villagers.” He, however, added that the district administration would observe the situation in the following days and take measures accordingly.