Chennai: While the Dravidian politicos of various hues and sub-faiths, swear by their guru Periyar as the architect of the multiple campaigns for social equality and eradication of discrimination against the lower castes, such ugly instances continue to pop up even in this modern era and despite all the high decibel ‘rationalist’ rhetoric.
Embarrassed by reports that school children are being forced to wear wristbands of various colours to identify their caste, particularly down south, TN Director of School Education S. Kannappan has issued a circular to all his district officers to identify such institutions in their areas and take stringent action against the headmasters.
The students in these schools are subjected to either preferential treatment if he/she wears a band identified with an upper caste or be discriminated against should the band relates to the lower rung of society.
The director said his circular was based on a representation given by the officer-trainees of the IAS 2018 batch — obviously after seeing such wristband at schools.
However, school education secretary Pradeep Yadav said the circular “is only in an advisory and precautionary measure just in case there are any such cases” and it did not mean there are indeed such wristband schools.
“There was a report that came to the State Secretary for Adi Dravida Welfare and he wrote to my Director (Kannappan). He said if there such incidents, please take action. We do not have any specific information of any such school,” Yadav told DC.
“Director Kannappan had issued this circular about three weeks ago, when things appeared to be getting really bad and there were reports of such wristband schools functioning down south, particularly in Tiruchy district”, said an informed source, recalling that a similar crackdown had been ordered two years ago when the first cases popped up in Villupuram district.
Director Kannappan’s circular in anguish to his district officers said “In some schools in Tamil Nadu, students are made to wear colour-coded wrist bands” and these bands come in shades of red, yellow, green and saffron, to indicate whether the student belongs to a “lower” or an “upper” caste.
He also said rings and ‘tilak’ on the forehead were also used as caste-markers; obviously for making unfair and discriminatory decisions during the sports team selections and also academic events.
“Allegedly, these practices are enforced by students themselves and supported by influential caste representatives and teachers,” the circular said....