The Uttarakhand Police have booked 30 people in connection with the sacking of a Dalit cook from a government school after upper caste students boycotted mid-day meals cooked by her, PTI reported on Friday.
Sunita Devi, the cook who was sacked, had filed the complaint. The police have charged the accused persons under sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, and Section 506 (intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
Six of the accused persons are Mahesh Chaurakoti, Deepa Joshi, Bablu Gehtori, Satish Chandra, Nagendra Joshi and Shankar Dutt, the Champawat district’s Superintendent of Police Devendra Pincha said. The other 24 accused persons have not been identified.
All the accused persons hail from the village of Sukhidhang and nearby areas. No one has been arrested in the case so far.
Sunita Devi was sacked on December 23 after 43 upper caste students of the school boycotted mid-day meals as a protest against her appointment. District authorities claimed that norms had been flouted in Devi’s appointment.
In retaliation, 23 Dalit students of the school refused to eat mid-day meals prepared by an upper caste cook.
Devi had joined the school on December 13. She had replaced Shakuntala Devi, an upper caste woman.
Following Sunita Devi’s appointment, parents of the upper caste students also supported the boycott of the mid-day meals. They alleged that Sunita Devi was given preference over a deserving candidate, Pushpa Bhatt, who is a Brahmin, one of the upper castes.
The government then set up an inquiry into Sunita Devi’s appointment at the school. According to the rules, a cook’s appointment is subject to clearance from a sub-education officer. Prem Singh, the principal at the Government Inter College in Sukhidhang did not get the necessary clearance, a state government official had said.
On December 25, the Aam Aadmi Party had announced that the Delhi government will provide a job to Devi.