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Caste issue behind Gomutra incident

The high–level inquiry committee whioch probes the purification incident at a ZP school at Surewada village in Bhandara district says the case was purely one of superstition and not a caste issue, reports Pradip Kumar Maitra.

india Updated: May 07, 2007 23:17 IST

The high–level inquiry committee that probed the purification incident at a ZP school at Surewada village in Bhandara district reportedly reached a conclusion that the case was purely a case of superstition and not a caste issue!

The issue triggered a lot of tension between the Hindus and Dalits in the district. A section of villagers had even tried to draw parallels with the infamous Khairlanji incident and insisted action under Prevention of Atrocities Act against the errant school Head and the lady teacher, who allegedly sprinkled Gumutra in the school premises and on the students. However, both teachers were arrested under the Protection of Civil Rights Act and shunted from the school by the district administration following public outrage.

It was alleged that Sharad Kaitade, the new head master of the ZP middle school of Surewada, sprinkled cow's urine in the school rooms and on students with the help of his junior colleague Madhavi Raut to "purify" them from lower-caste teacher's "evil spirit".

Though almost all the teachers and school committee members told the members of the inquiry committee that the Head Master and the lady teacher sprinkled cow urine on students and the school premises only in good intention and for the "well-being" of the students, the lower-caste students still felt that it was intentionally put on them being Dalits.

One of the students, Mayuri Sukhdeve, student of standard V maintained that Madhavi Raut sprinkled Gomutra on only Dalit students.

"Madhavi madam came to the classroom and asked us to get up and sprinkled Gomutra only on us. While doing so, she said that it would purify us and the examination would pass smoothly," she added.

However, the inquiry committee, headed by VB Wati, the additional collector of the district, met a cross-section of people in the village, the school committee members and the in-charge Head Mistress of the school, Bharati Jambhulkar, who belongs to Dalit community, and came to the conclusion that it was not at all a caste issue. "It was not with only the Dalit students. The cow urine was also sprinkled to students of other communities," it said. The report will officially be submitted to the government on May 9 next. The Guardian Minister of Bhandara district, Sunil Deshmukh had ordered a high level inquiry to probe the incident when he visited the village on April 26 last.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Indomala Jain, however, refused to say anything about it. "We have not received the report so far," she said.
Meanwhile, former ZP member of the area, Satyabhan Timbarte pointed out that it was not wrong to sprinkle Gomutra on anyone. It is auspicious as per the Indian culture and ethos. Moreover, cow's urine is generally used as a potent medicine in Ayurveda. It is also believed that Gomutra can cure many ailments ranging from liver disease to obesity, he further pointed out.