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Tamil Nadu students refuse to eat breakfast prepared by Dalit cook

The incident you’ve described took place in Tamil Nadu’s Karur district, where 15 students of a school refused to eat food provided under the state’s breakfast scheme because it was cooked by a Dalit woman. The district collector, T Prabhu Shankar, visited the school in response to this caste-based discrimination and warned the parents of these students about potential legal action under the Prevention of Atrocities against the SC/ST Act.

The parents of these Hindu students expressed their concern about the food being prepared by Sumathi, a Dalit woman, and stated that their children would not consume the food until she was allowed to continue cooking. They even mentioned that they were willing to take their children out of school if necessary.

The breakfast scheme, which offers free breakfast to a large number of students in the state’s primary government schools, was inaugurated by Chief Minister MK Stalin on August 25. Out of the 30 students studying at the Velan Chettiyar Panchayat Union School in Karur district, 15 initially refused to participate in the scheme. Efforts were made by the district administration, including requests from the Planning Director, Srinivasan, to persuade the parents to allow their children to have breakfast as part of the scheme. Only two students eventually started eating the food from August 30 onwards, while the issue remained unresolved.

The district administration issued a statement emphasizing that no such segregation would be tolerated and urged all parents to allow their children to partake in the morning meal

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