Taste of caste

By NT Bureau Published on Aug 10, 2018 02:43 PM IST

Despite Mahakavi Bharathi penning 'Jaadhigal illayadi paapa' a century ago, Mahatma Gandhi calling the oppressed as 'Harijan' and many other leaders and activists advocating for casteless society, discrimination based on birth exists even in this tech era and the sad thing is, it has taken a new form on the social media too. There are Facebook and WhatsApp groups for castes with its members launching tirades against each other.

In a case of polluting young minds, a few students of a school, already mired in controversy over the appointment of a Dalit woman for cooking noon meal, took ill after eating the food in a suspected case of food poisoning even as she claimed it to be a conspiracy to throw her out. Quoting the police, reports stated that as many as 12 students of Thirumalaigoundampalayam government school in Tirupur district were hospitalised as they complained of vomiting after taking the noon meal.

Parents of the children alleged that a dead lizard was found in the food, following which the school headmistress lodged a complaint of negligence of duty against P Pappal, the cook. However, Pappal said she and her daughter had also taken the food and claimed that the allegation of food poisoning was part of a conspiracy to remove her from the school. And the incident comes a day after Pappal's husband had petitioned the district administration seeking police protection over concerns of his family's safety.

It may be recalled that Pappal was transferred to another school last month after the parents of children of a community had opposed to her posting as the cook at the school and exerted pressure on the authorities to shift her. However, after the matter reached higher officials, she was reinstated in the school and cases were registered against 87 people. The latest incident demands thorough probe and the guilty should be brought to book. For, it is not just a case of food poisoning.