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Tamil Nadu Government School Without Dalit Students

The caste Hindus claim they reject the practice of such discriminations and accuse dalits of misusing the privileges given to them.

Published: 28th February 2016 05:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2016 09:25 AM   |  A+A-

School

Kuruvithurai Panchayat Union Primary School

MADURAI: Kuruvithurai is a village in Madurai district, six kms away from Solavandan town. The Adi Dravidar colony here has 150 dalit families—all of them prefer not to send their wards to the only panchayat union primary school there, fearing that their children might face discrimination at the hands of caste Hindu students and villagers.

Less than a month ago, a clash broke out between the two groups over dalit youths playing a song from a Tamil movie on loud speakers which the caste Hindus found provocative.

For more than two decades, dalit children are forced to go to the government higher secondary school in neighbouring Mannadimangalam panchayat a few kilometres away. “Even for that, the students had to take another route through a grove as they were taunted if they took the main road to school,” said Satish who had just returned after having a haircut in Sholavandan town as local barbers did not entertain dalits.

When approached, panchayat union leader M Karnan was in the defensive. “Despite the government providing the same facilities at both the schools, for some unknown reasons, dalits do not send their children to our panchayat union school,” Karnan said. He belongs to the caste Hindu community.

On further probe, it was found that the discrimination was not restricted to children alone. Even the government staff from the SC community had to face the wrath of caste Hindu villagers. “The parents did not allow their children to take food made by me,” said Pandieashwari, a dalit noon meal staff from the anganwadi. She has been posted to the school a year ago.

The panchayat leader Karnan had a theory for this too. “After last month’s communal clash, the parents (caste hindus) were not ready to retain her as a school staff. They suspected she might not prepare proper food for the children. However, we intervened and ensured that she returned to the school after the tension petered out,” Karnan  said.

After the recent clash, relationships have strained further between caste Hindus and dalit students. “We don’t even look at each other even when we play together in inter-school or zonal level sports events,” said Pandiaraj, a class 10 student from dalit colony.

The caste Hindus claim they reject the practice of such discriminations and accuse dalits of misusing the privileges given to them.



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