Crowd pelts stones at shut ration centre in New Delhi’s Rohini, resident nabbed
A crowd of ration-seekers allegedly pelted stones on and tried to break open the gates of a North Delhi Municipal Corporation school — a temporary dry ration distribution centre — in Prem Nagar, Rohini, on Thursday morning. The police, however, said the incident was reported on May 7, following which they had arrested a local resident.
Ramniwas Solanki, the general secretary of the MCD Teachers’ Union, said that the crowd of around 500 became agitated after finding the gate of the school closed. Solanki claimed that the school was locked following a Delhi government order that said all schools turned into ration centres will remain shut on Thursday.
“It was declared a ‘Closing Day’ on which no ration will be distributed and we (teachers) were required to take stock of how much ration has been received from godowns and how much of it had been distributed in the last one month and send reports to the Delhi government,” Solanki said.
Around 1,000 Delhi government and corporation schools have been functioning as ‘Hunger Relief (food distribution) Centres’ and ‘Ration Centres’ since April to provide relief for people during the nationwide lockdown. More than 40,000 Delhi government teachers have been engaged on ration distribution duty. The hunger centres open at 8am and close by 6pm, daily.
Rice and wheat flour are part of a standard ration kit that are being distributed .
“We had already put up boards outside the school gates announcing that no ration will be distributed on Thursday. However, the crowd that turned up in the morning wasn’t ready to go back empty-handed. First, the men abused us. They then started pelting stones and broke a classroom’s window. We had to hide some of our female colleagues and call the police for help,” said Bharat Lal Meena, principal of the Nagar Nigam Prathmik Bal Vidyalaya, Prem Nagar, Rohini Zone.
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Reacting to the incident, north corporation commissioner, Varsha Joshi, said, “We are writing to the Food Supply and Consumer Affairs (FCS) department of Delhi Government on the subject. The concerned deputy commissioners and additional directors of education (of the corporation) have regularly raked up the issues being faced by teachers on duty, but to no avail. These issues have been cropping up due to non-availability of a proper list or non-availability of ration.”
“Our DCs and ADEs have been writing to concerned district magistrates regularly requesting for more police presence at these centres. Our additional commissioner (education) has also written to the secretary FCS today,” she said.
A senior government official said, “The food and civil supplies department has taken cognizance of the matter and the issue will be resolved at the earliest. This month around 2.5 million individuals, who do not possess ration cards, have availed essentials under the special scheme. Ration is distributed to all centres from central storehouses in every district. The demand and supply across all centres is taken into account.”
Deputy commissioner of police (Rohini) Pramod Kumar Mishra, however, claimed that the incident was reported on May 7 but the video of stone pelting was circulated on social media on Thursday.
“There was a local resident of Prem Nagar Phase III, Lal Kishan, who was forced to return home without ration for two days. On third day, after again not managing to get ration, he got agitated, picked up some stones from nearby railway tracks and started throwing them at the school building. Seeing him, some other agitated locals also joined in,” the DCP said.
Mishra said that the police was informed by the locals and they arrested Kishan. “We dispersed the crowd and Kishan was put under preventive custody. He was released on bail the next day. There was no official complaint from any authority,” the DCP said.
A similar incident had taken place on Monday in Tigri in a South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) school, where six female teachers were allegedly manhandled by a crowd of ration seekers.