By Abdul Alim Jafri / News Click
Lucknow: Yet another instance of caste discrimination has come to light in Uttar Pradesh. In a government school in Hapur district, two ‘dalit’ girl students aged 8 and 9 were allegedly stripped and other students were made to wear their uniforms for a “photo session”.
Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA) Archana Gupta told NewsClick that investigation into the alleged incident is underway after the victims’ parents filed a complaint on Friday at Kapoorpur police station, alleging that the Scheduled Caste (SC) students were being discriminated against at the government primary school in Dahirpur.
Gautam, the girls’ father, told the BSA that like every other day, both his daughters went to school last Monday with their brother wearing school uniforms when two female teachers — Sunita and Bandana – allegedly forced them to take off their uniforms so that other students could wear those for a photo session. He alleged that when both the girls refused to do so, the teachers forcibly got their uniforms removed and also beat them up. “The girls stood half-naked in front of everyone until the other children were photographed in their school uniforms,” the father alleged.
The complainant claimed that the treatment meted out to his daughters would lead to life-long trauma.
“The teachers forbid both my daughters to not share the incident with anyone. They were threatened that if they tell their family members, they would be removed from school,” Gautam further alleged.
In his complaint, Gautam has mentioned several instances of humiliation and discrimination from the same teachers, citing incidents when his daughters were scolded harshly while other students were only issued warnings.
“The pattern of how they (the teachers) were treating my daughters and the several incidents that took place, clearly indicate that this prejudice deliberate and it is fair to assume this is due to the caste background of my daughters,” Gautam told NewsClick.
The father said that when he approached the school authorities on the matter, the principal had dismissed his allegations. “Instead of addressing the incident, the principal tried his best to cover up the issue,” he alleged.
Commenting on the incident, human rights activist Anirudh Sharma told NewsClick: “This is unfortunately not a one-time occurrence in UP. Several such incidents have been reported in the past. Be it dalit pupils asked to keep their utensils separately or dalit students segregated during lunch hour– it is a routine affair here.” He pointed out that “in not even in a single incident, tough action has been taken against the teachers who discriminate on the basis of caste.”
Sharma, who is monitoring the Hapur incident said: “What will be the effect on the minds of the girls when they grow up and think they were stripped in front of everyone in school? Will they be able to face their schoolmates? This is a gross violation of the Constitution and strict action should be taken against the teachers.”
This article first appeared in newsclick.in