High Court wants answer on caste apartheid | india | Hindustan Times
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High Court wants answer on caste apartheid

Why is caste apartheid being practiced in mid-day meals paid for by the taxpayer? That is the question the Madhya Pradesh government will have to answer. On Monday, the Madhya Pradesh High Court issued a show-cause notice to the state government and the Director of School Education asking why a public interest litigation (PIL) on caste apartheid should not be admitted.

india Updated: May 13, 2009 00:11 IST
HT Correspondent

Why is caste apartheid being practiced in mid-day meals paid for by the taxpayer?

That is the question the Madhya Pradesh government will have to answer. On Monday, the Madhya Pradesh High Court issued a show-cause notice to the state government and the Director of School Education asking why a public interest litigation (PIL) on caste apartheid should not be admitted.

Hindustan Times had, in a report titled Apartheid funded by the Indian tax-payer on May 5, exposed schools in four Madhya Pradesh districts were discriminating against and humiliating scheduled caste and dalit children while serving the government-funded mid-day meals. The report was based on a survey by Jan Sahas, an NGO.

Citing the reports published in HT, petitioner S.P. Anand has alleged in his petition that the fundamental rights of the Dalit children were being grossly violated as they were being forced to sit in separate rows, served in plates marked with permanent ink to segregate them from those used by upper class children and had food tossed at them.

The PIL also sought monetary compensation to the children subjected to caste discrimination and punishment to authorities failing to curb it.

The HT report, based on the Jan Sahas survey, had revealed that over 63 per cent of dalit children surveyed in Ujain, Sheopur, Katni and Jhabua had been subjected to caste discrimination while being served mid-day meals in government schools.

The survey also found that 79 per cent of dalit students were given the job of cleaning the schools. In some schools, this chore was only given to the Dalit girls.

It also found that caste-based discrimination was rampant in the government-run mother-and-child scheme called Anganwadi.