New Delhi: The CPI(M) on Monday strongly condemned the dismissal of 11 Dalit students from a Rajasthan school after two of them were found drinking water from a pot meant for an upper caste teacher and demanded their immediate reinstatement.
The party also sought a probe into the incident as well as whether such practises prevailed in other educational institutions of the state as well.
In a statement, CPI(M) Politburo member K Varadarajan said the teacher "took this extreme punitive step as he felt that the children 'defiled' the water by touching the pot. Their parents were also compelled to sign or put their thumb impressions on 11 blank sheets of paper."
"With a right-wing party like the BJP in power in the state and the Centre, preachers and practitioners of obscurantist ideas are feeling emboldened," he said.
Terming it as a "highly deplorable act", the CPI(M) leader said this was "an indicator of the subordinate status of Dalits and the obnoxious practises being carried on by the so-called upper castes" even 67 years after Independence.
"Dalits continue to be segregated, confined to the margins economically and socially and are denied basic amenities in many parts of the country. Unacceptable practises like the two-glass system and untouchability are still prevalent in many states. They continue to be denied entry into temples in some states like Rajasthan," Varadarajan said.
Demanding steps to readmit all the dismissed students in the same school immediately, he said a proper enquiry should be ordered not just to look into the incident but also the prevalence of such practises in other educational institutions in the state.
The incident had occurred in the Nokha area of Bikaner district last week following which the teacher was arrested on Saturday, according to reports.