In a major controversy that has broken out in the state of Tamil Nadu, the government there has withdrawn the order to ban caste band in schools saying that things should go on as it is. Informing about the entire development, sources said that School education minister KA Sengottaiyan asked all the education officials not to implement the order issued by the department. Sengottaiyan alleges that the order was passed without his knowledge.
The usage of caste bands has been a practice in the northern and some southern districts of Tamil Nadu. The students are profiled and identified on the basis of their caste. Opposing the circular, BJP leader H Raja called it 'anti-Hindu'. However, Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan spoke to Republic TV and said : "BJP appealed for practices like applying Tilak on forehead and tying sacred threads on the wrists to be allowed. We appeal for a ban on caste bands to end discrimination against students." The
The Director of Education in Tamil Nadu Dr S Kanappan had written to all Chief Education Officers to identify and take action against schools where children were made to wear wrist bands of different colours to identify their caste. According to the letter, the officer trainees of IAS 2018 batch had lodged a representation to the government which stated that students in some schools were being made to wear colour coded wrist bands which indicated their caste.
"These wristbands, which come in shades of red, yellow, green and saffron indicate whether they belong to a 'Lower Caste' or 'Upper Caste'. In addition to this, rings and forehead 'Tilaka' on the head were also used as caste marker," the letter read. "These practices supposedly, are being used for sports team selection, reassembling during classes and lunch intervals. Allegedly, these practices are enforced by students themselves and supported by influential caste persons and teachers," the letter stated. The Education Minister Sengottaiyan has opposed this order.