Casteism in India dates back thousands of years. In a recent episode, a Dalit student was denied admission in Class 11 in a Tamil Nadu government school. National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has sent a notice to School Education Director S Kannappan seeking explanation over denial of admission, The Indian Express reported.
A complaint was lodged against Coimbatore Chief Educational Officer (CEO) P Usha and Thondamuthur Boys Government Higher Secondary School Headmaster Moorthy on October 22. In a letter, the NCSC asked the School Education Director to submit facts, information, and action taken report on the issue within 15 days.
The NCSC said, “In case the commission does not receive a reply from you within the stipulated time, the commission may exercise the powers of Civil Courts conferred on it under article 338 and issues summons for your appearance in person or any by a representative before the commission.”
“Despite an order that tuition fees should not be collected from government school students, a few headmasters in Coimbatore have been collecting fees illegally during Class XI admissions in the name of Parent Teacher Association (PTA)”, said the complainant, M Nagendaran, joint committee coordinator of Coimbatore Dalit organisations.
Adding that despite taking the issue to CEO P Usha no strong action was taken on the issue, he said, “An audio clip of the conversation between the parents and the headmaster has gone viral on social media.”
School Education Director S Kannappan said, “We rectified the issue as soon as receiving a complaint. The headmaster has repaid the money he collected from all students. The student concerned was also offered admission immediately. CEO P Usha will submit a report.”
In India, there have been several reports of harsh discrimination faced by Dalit students.