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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Bengal school pulled up over ‘religious segregation’

According to teachers, the school has 329 students of whom 195 are Hindus and 124 are Muslims, who belong to Basantapur and Ramdoba villages. While Muslims comprise a majority in Ramdoba, most of the residents of Basantapur village are Hindus.

india Updated: Sep 14, 2019 17:23 IST
Sreyasi Pal
Sreyasi Pal
Behrampore(West Bengal)
An incident of segregation of Hindu and Muslim students before being served the mid-day meal cooked in separate utensils in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district  prompted the block development officer to ask the school to end this practice.  (Representative Image)
An incident of segregation of Hindu and Muslim students before being served the mid-day meal cooked in separate utensils in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district prompted the block development officer to ask the school to end this practice. (Representative Image)(Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
         

An incident of segregation of Hindu and Muslim students before being served the mid-day meal cooked in separate utensils in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district prompted the block development officer to ask the school to end this practice.

Rabindranath Bairagya, block development officer of Suti, under which the Ramdoba Madhyamik Shiksha Kendra falls, said, “After I came to know about the incident recently, I sent my team to the school on Friday. I have directed that food should be cooked for all the students together and there should not be any segregation. The administration will not tolerate any such practice on the basis of religion.”

According to teachers, the school has 329 students of whom 195 are Hindus and 124 are Muslims, who belong to Basantapur and Ramdoba villages. While Muslims comprise a majority in Ramdoba, most of the residents of Basantapur village are Hindus.

“Trouble began in 2010, when, for the first time when guardians of students from Basantapur village refused to allow their children to eat mid-day meal with the students from the Muslim community. They would not budge from their position despite our efforts several times not to insist on segregation,” said Ashim Kumar Das, a science teacher of the school.

Another teacher Deepak Kumar Das said: “We tried to put a stop to it several times. I have eaten food from the plates of the students of the two religious communities, but the guardians and cooks resisted us.”

According to the two teachers quoted above the school have separate ovens and utensils to cook meals for the Hindu and Muslim students. They also said the students are segregated on religious lines before serving the government run mid-day meal.

School headmaster Pashupati Ghosh did not respond to phone calls.

“The school is closed during the weekend and it would be known only on Monday whether the instructions are followed or not. School teachers said all will depend on the reaction of parents and cooks,” said the BDO.

Trinamool Congress legislator for the area and minister Jakir Hossain, said: “I came to know about the segregation on Thursday. I shall visit the school and ensure that such practices do not continue.”

Incidentally, in end-August, a probe was ordered in a primary school in the Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh after it came to light that some students did not have meals along with Dalit schoolmates.

First Published: Sep 13, 2019 23:46 IST