Just a few days after a video surfaced showing children of primary government school in Uttar Pradesh having salt and roti in their mid-day meal, the authorities have filed an FIR against the journalist who reported the story.
Instead of rectifying their mistake, the Block Education Officer of the area has accused the journalist, and a representative of the local village head of conspiracy to defame the Uttar Pradesh government.
In a shocking incident the students of a government primary school in Mirzapur district were being served salt and roti (flatbread) under the midday meal scheme. A video posted on the social media showed about 100 children of classes 1 to 8 sitting on the floor of the school corridor, eating rotis with just some salt in their plates. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a parent told IANS, “Children get either roti-salt or rice-salt on most days. Milk is given very rarely and proper food is served only when some important person comes for a visit.”
The three-page first information report, mentions that only rotis were cooked in the school on the day when the video was shot. It further adds that it was village head representative’s responsibility to arrange for vegetables instead of calling a reporter to the school premises. The FIR also mentions that the video was shot by a local journalist which was widely shared on social media and defamed the state government, it adds.
The journalist and the village head’s representative have been accused of cheating and criminal conspiracy
According to the website of Uttar Pradesh Midday Meal Authority, the overseeing body for these meals, government-run primary schools list an elaborate menu that is supposed to be served to children. It includes pulses, rice, rotis and vegetables. Fruits and milk are included on certain days, according to the meal chart.
Contradictory to Block Education Officer’s complaint, District Magistrate Anurag Patel had said, “I have got an inquiry conducted and the incident has been found to be true. Prima facie, it is the fault of the teacher in-charge of the school and the supervisor at the Gram Panchayat. Both have been suspended.”
The Uttar Pradesh government’s spokesman said that it is providing mid-day meals in over 1.5 lakh primary and middle schools across the state. Over 1 crore children are supposed to benefit from the scheme.