After Tamil Nadu government’s contentious move to withdraw the ban on caste bands in schools, BJP clarifies their stand on the issue, even as opposition parties continue mounting pressure on the AIADMK government. Speaking to Republic TV, Tamilnadu BJP president Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan said, ‘ BJP appealed for practices like applying Thilak on the forehead and tying sacred threads on the wrists to be allowed as banning them would hurt Hindu sentiments. But we do not support any caste discrimination and we appeal for a ban on caste bands supposedly used in schools to discriminate against students’.
This clarification comes after BJP national secretary, H Raja, had called the circular from the Director of School Education as an ‘anti-Hindu move’ and had said it will result in prevention of religious display by Hindu students. The circular dated 02-08-2019 was withdrawn yesterday as the minister for School Education KA Sengottaiyan imputed that the circular had been issued without his knowledge and permission, terming the ban ‘unnecessary’.
Today, speaking on behalf of the government, minister D Jayakumar said, ‘There should be no difference in students on the basis of caste. Our government is working on it’. But Jayakumar failed to give clarity on the status of the circular and whether the practise will be banned henceforth. Opposition parties in Tamilnadu are voicing their antimony against the government's move to revoke the ban. Taking to social media to express his affront, Congress MP Manickam Tagore posted, ‘It’s unfortunate & condemnable step by the Minister! It’s shame that BJP & ADMK both want to divide Tamilnadu on caste & Religious basis ! No ban on usage of caste bands in schools: Education Minister’
In interior parts of Tamil Nadu, schools were using the caste bands of various colours to recognise students from various caste backgrounds and reports suggest that discrimination was taking place even in selection to sports teams. Some parents have even accused schools of segregating students from ‘backward castes’ to eat separately during lunch intervals.
With no perspicuity coming from the government's side yet, whether there will be measures put in place to prohibit and penalise such shameful caste apartheid in some schools remains obscure.