The National Human Rights Commission on Monday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government after taking note of reports that salt and chapatis were served to children for mid-day meals. The commission has asked for a detailed report on the matter from the state’s chief secretary within four weeks.

The notice was served after a video of children eating the meal was widely shared on social media. Around 100 students from Class 1 to Class 8 of the Siyur primary school in Mirzapur’s Jamalpur block were served this lunch.

“Reportedly, the authorities have suspended two teachers, apparently in an immediate damage control exercise,” the statement from the commission said. “Issuing the notice the Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports are shocking and disgraceful that despite the Mid-Day-Meal Scheme for children in the government run schools, apparently, are not getting the nutritious food.”

The commission also sought details of the status of mid-day meals across the state in government and government-aided primary schools. “It has further observed that in the year 2001, the Supreme Court passed an order stated that a basic entitlement of every child in every Government and Government assisted primary schools with a prepared Mid-Day-Meal with a minimum content of 300 calories and 8-12 grams of protein each day of school for a minimum of 200 days,” the NHRC said.

The mid-day meal scheme is a nutrition programme of the central government for providing healthy food to students in government and government-aided primary schools. The Uttar Pradesh government website listed the items provided in the meals to be – rice, pulses, vegetables, chapatis, fruits and milk.

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