This comes despite a recent visit to the school by Champawat DM Narender Singh Bhandari during which he had urged students and parents to shun “caste discrimination”. Parents of some of the upper caste students had then said that their children “should not be forced to have mid-day meal cooked by the Dalit cook”.
The school has 57 students – 37 from the general category and 20 from SC community.
It has two cooks, Vimla Upreti from general category hired in 2016, and Sunita Devi, a Dalit, reinstated in January this year.
The school’s principal couldn’t be contacted despite several attempts. One of the school management officials confirmed the developments to TOI. District chief education officer, Jitendra Saxena, meanwhile, said, “The salary issue was not in my knowledge. We will take necessary steps to ensure that she gets it. As far as the students still refusing to eat meals cooked by her, we have made all efforts to change that but to no avail. Having said that, Sunita Devi cannot be removed as she has been appointed as per the due procedure.” Discrimination towards Sunita came to light last year when TOI reported on the mid-meal incident. Her appointment was also terminated by the chief education officer of the district. A few days later, Champawat district administration reinstated her.