Caste Hindu students keep away, even sit separately in class

Even as they are yet to get over the November 7 attack on their houses, the children of Natham, Kondampatti and Anna Nagar Dalit colonies in Naikkankottai village have run into another problem in one of the schools: caste Hindu students are keeping away from them for the last two days at the Government High School.

The students are being taken in police vehicles to schools in and around Dharmapuri and brought back home. They are still in the grip of fear, the students said on Friday.

M. Nishanthi of Natham Colony, a Class X student of the school, said after the attack, students from the three colonies resumed going to schools and colleges on Wednesday. But, for the last two days, caste Hindu students were keeping away, even sitting separately in class. M. Suresh of the same colony, recalling the attack, said he was attending classes amid an atmosphere of fear.

When this was brought to the notice of Headmaster of the Government High School G. Ramakrishnan, he said steps would be taken immediately to eliminate caste discrimination.

A police officer in-charge of security for the students said that out of 217 school students and 70 college students in the three colonies, 24 attended college and 209 attended school for the past two days. S. Amuthavalli, Chief Educational Officer, told The Hindu that the department would take steps to weed out discrimination, if any, in the school. Both Dalit and caste Hindu students would be given counselling. The Dalit students said that the counselling given by Superintendent of Police Asra Garg and a team of doctors headed by Resident Medical Officer of Government Hospital in Dharmapuri M. Elangovan was helpful. Meanwhile, the case has been transferred to CB CID for investigation.