Press Statement
K. Varadarajan, Member of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau has issued the following statement:
I strongly condemn the dismissal of eleven dalit students from a government school in Bikaner in Rajasthan. These students were dismissed from the school after two of them were found drinking water from an earthen pot meant for an upper caste teacher. The teacher Mangal Singh took this extreme punitive step as he felt that the children “defiled” the water by touching the pot. The parents were also compelled to sign or put their thumb impressions on 11 blank sheets of paper.
This highly deplorable act is an indicator of the subordinate status of dalits and the obnoxious practices being carried on by the so-called upper castes even sixty seven years after the country attained independence. Dalits continue to be segregated, confined to the margins economically and socially and are denied basic amenities in many parts of the country. Unacceptable practices like the two-glass system and untouchability are still prevalent in many states. They continue to be denied entry into temples in some states like Rajasthan.
With a rightwing party like the BJP in power in the state and the centre, preachers and practitioners of obscurantist ideas are feeling emboldened.
While steps have to be taken to readmit all the dismissed students back to the same school immediately, a proper enquiry should be ordered not just to look into the incident but also the prevalence of such practices in other educational institutions in the state.