Radhamma, the Dalit cook at a government school in Kagganahalli village in Karnataka’s Kolar district cooked food on Monday and it was the first time in five months that her students did not reject because of her caste.
On November 6, www.jantakareporter.com had carried a report on the plight of the dalit cook, whose appointment in the school had prompted the parents of 100 out of 118 students to withdraw their children.
However, following media reports, the administration swung into action and on Monday, several officials of the Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement were rushed to the school to ensure students eat the food cooked by Radhamma.
Radhamma, the dalit head cook
“I am shocked, I can’t believe students ate the mid-day meal prepared by me today. Our village head Shankar Reddy, who was responsible for the boycott, also ate the food. Many officials — I don’t know who are they — visited the village in an attempt to resolve the issue. Today, all of them ate, but I don’t know about the future,” Radhamma was quoted by The Indian Express.
Among those who visited the village were officials of the department of education and its mid-day meal scheme as well as police officials, including Additional Director General of Police for civil rights enforcement Bhaskar Rao.
Reddy was accused of masterminding the mass boycott of Radhamma by the parents.
“Sara Fathima, superintendent of police at the civil rights cell in Kolar, bought two new sarees and gave it to Radhamma through Reddy as a gesture of goodwill to end discrimination in the village,” said a police officer.
“I made sit them together to eat a meal prepared by Radhamma. I ate it, too. Reddy assured me that he will handle the issue and make sure it does not happen again. We will hold a meeting with villagers on November 18 to sort out the problems,” Rao said.
“The Karnataka government is not ignoring cases of discrimination in the state. Our quick response to the issue shows that we acted in time. It is also a lesson for other Radhammas in the state. We want to sent a message that somebody will stand them if anything goes wrong,” Rao said.
The village residents have been instructed to make sure all students, who left after Radhamma’s appointment as the head cook, return to the school.