India: Dalit kids barred from Bihar school


Caste conflict continues to create divisions in Bihar`s Kalyanpatti village where Dalit children are being deprived of education because of caste prejudice. They are enrolled in school, but none of them have attended classes for the past two years.
"We went to school. But they beat us and asked us to leave," Dalit student Prabhash Kumar says. There is only one government school in Kalyanpatti, which was earlier situated in a Dalit colony but was moved to an upper caste area two years ago. Since then, Dalit children have been barred from entering the school premises.
"It`s difficult for Dalit students to study here. Teachers beat them and send them away," says Dalit villager Nandlal. And shockingly, the upper caste people of the village openly threaten to murder Dalits if they try to move the school. "There will be a bloodbath if they ask us to move the school," upper caste villager Arun Kumar says.
Even the teachers are shying away from this caste tussle. Instead, they give other reasons to justify Dalit children's absence. "If we don`t care for upper caste students, they won`t come to school. So we have to pay more attention to them," Yogendra Yadav, a teacher.
In an era of sprawling shopping malls and four-lane highways, this is a shocking reality, which continues to exist. There have been several cases of caste prejudice in Bihar, and this is just one of them. But the state administration simply continues to turn a blind eye

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