Dalit students refuse to eat meal cooked by upper-caste Hindu woman in Uttarakhand

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A group of Dalit students in Uttarakhand have refused to eat midday meals cooked by an upper-caste Hindu woman. This was after upper-caste Hindu students had refused to eat meals cooked by a Dalit woman in the same school. The educational institution in question is the Government Inter College of Sukhidhang in the Champawat district of Uttarakhand.

Last week, upper-caste Hindu students had refused to eat meals cooked by one Sunita Devi, who belongs to the Dalit community. To add insult to injury, Devi was later sacked from her job the state’s BJP government.

However, as many as 23 students belonging to the Dalit community decided to make a point by refusing to eat meals cooked by Vimilesh Upreti, an upper-caste Hindu woman, who was hired as Devi’s replacement.

According to a report by the Hindustan Times website, when the midday meal was served opn Friday, 23 Dalit students refused to eat the food cooked Upreti. “They said if upper caste students boycott the food cooked by a Dalit bhojanmata, they will boycott the meal cooked by the upper caste woman,” said Prem Singh, the principal of the inter college.

The sacking of Devi had become a hugely controversial issue with Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan threatening to launch a protest against the Uttarkhand government. He had tweeted in Hindi, “The government has insulted the self-respect of the Dalit community by sacking the cook from the SC community in the Champawat district of Uttarakhand. The ASP and the Bhim Army will never compromise with the self-respect of their mothers and sisters. If she is not rehabilitated in her post, we will gheroa Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami. Friends, start preparing (for the protest)” the Bhim Army chief had tweeted.

Meanwhile, the BJP government-led education department has accused Devi of provoking Dalit students to boycott the cook from the upper-caste Hindu community.