Dalit students denied right to offer prayers to Lord Ganesha, case filed

A case has been registered by police under Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Atrocity Prevention) Act, 1973 following complaint that dalit students were allegedly denied of their rights to offer prayer to Lord Ganesha in a government-run school in Kendrapara district.

Around 25 dalit children studying in Andara Upper Primary School under Pattamundai police station limits were allegedly disallowed to break coconut shells and offer prayer to Lord Ganesha while upper caste students were allowed to do so during Ganesha Chaturthi on Thursday.

“We have registered a case. The incident is being investigated. Legal action would accordingly be initiated,” Kendrapara Superintendent of police Nitinjeet Singh said. A separate probe by Schools and Mass Education department has also been ordered into the incident, sources said.

“The administration has taken serious view of the incident. Directives have been served on the School and Mass education department authorities to conduct an unbiased inquiry into the reported denial of puja rights to dalit children,” Kendrapara Collector Debraj Senapati said.

Rabindra Nath Sethi, a rights activist, sought for immediate arrest of the perpetrators of the crime. Promotion of caste bias in government-run educational institutions is in bad taste, he said.

District Education Officer Sangram Sahu said, “An inquiry has been ordered into alleged caste discrimination. On the basis of inquiry findings, due action will be taken against those found guilty.”