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In this govt school, stray dogs snatch students’ midday meal

In this Rajasthan school, children troop down to an open verandah for their midday meal and so does a mob of around 15 stray dogs and pups.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2017 15:54 IST
Himanshu Vyas
Himanshu Vyas
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan,Midday meals,Dogs snatching food
A student tries to save his midday meal from the stray dogs who enter the school in Rajasthan due to a lack of boundary wall.(Himanshu Vyas/HT Photo)

Legendary poet Kanhaiya Lal Sethiya, in his poem Pithal aur Pathal, mentions a jungle cat snatching a bread made of grass that Rajput warrior king Maharana Pratap’s son Amar Singh was eating while spending a tough life in the forests during a war with Mughal emperor Akbar.

The poem in no longer a part of school curriculum in Rajasthan but students of a government school in Sawai Madhopur in the state’s eastern part experience it every day during midday meal.

As the bell rings for lunch, children troop down to an open verandah for their midday meal and so does a mob of around 15 stray dogs and pups. What follows for the next half an hour is a scene straight out of the fabled poem.

Girls and boys, hardly 7- and 8-year-old, desperately try to save their meals from the hungry canines. The giggles and gossips of happily eating kids soon drown in wild growls and shrieking children are seen running around holding chapatis in their fists and plates overhead.

“The dogs come here every day because there is no high boundary wall in the school. We had written to the education department last year but no action was taken. I have spoken with the villagers and they have decided to donate Rs 10 lakh which is needed to construct the wall,” Mannu Lal Verma, headmaster of Khat Kalan Government Secondary School, said.

But the delay is adding to the damage. Children often end up eating the chapatis pulled from the dog’s jaws. And the plates, smeared with infective canine saliva, are washed by students themselves and return to be used next day.

When HT contacted Hariprasad Sharma, Sawai Madhopur’s district education officer, he denied having any knowledge. “The school should have intimated us about the matter. I will check with the officials,” Sharma said.

District collector of Sawai Madhopur KC Verma too said that he didn’t have any knowledge about the sorry state of affairs at the school. “Now that you have brought the matter to my notice, I will look into it,” said Verma.

First Published: Feb 22, 2017 12:35 IST