Skip to main content

In Gujarat capital, when adivasi girls complained of poor hostel facilities, they got abuses, threat, insufficient food

Chart's condition displaying what all girl students
are entitled to tells it all
By Nachiketa Desai
A systematic racket of swindling funds by unscrupulous officials has been brought to light by a group of students residing in the state government-run hostel for Adivasi girls in Gujarat capital, Gandhinagar. The modus operandi for siphoning off funds meant for the Adivasi girl students is simple – deny them food and facilities sanctioned in the state budget.
To make matters worse, if any of the girl inmates of the hostel dares to complain to the warden or rector about the substandard or insufficient food, she is subjected to humiliation and threatened with rustication. “The warden and even the security guard routinely abuse us for having been born into an Adivasi family,” says Shital Rathod, a final year student of biotechnology at the government polytechnic.
The government hostel for Adivasi girls, located in Sector 12 of Gandhinagar, was to open on June 15, when the new academic session commenced. But, the hostel remained close for nearly a fortnight and the students, who hail from the eastern tribal belt, could not attend classes. It was only after the Adivasi Kisan Sangharsh Morcha (AKSM), a South Gujarat social action group, took up the matter with the state government that the hostel was opened.
Hostel toilets
Even when the hostel was thrown open, only 41 girl students of the total 147 sanctioned strength were admitted. “This is because a merit list which was to be prepared to admit Adivasi girls into the hostel, has not yet been prepared”, said a government insider.
Late opening of the hostel, and that too for a limited number of students, and denial of food, is said to be the main method adopted by the authorities to siphon off funds meant for the Adivasi students across Gujarat. Inquiries with Adivasi students in Vyara and Sagbara revealed that the government hostels meant for them have not yet opened, though it is well past several weeks that their colleges have begun the new academic session.
The girls in the Gandhinagar hostel complained of poor hygienic condition, clogged toilets, dirty bathrooms, and choked sewerage. “There are only four taps in the hostel and the water supply comes only for two hours in the morning”, one of them said, adding, “We were asked to supply buckets of water to the staff that comes to clean the toilets and bathrooms.”
“While the authorities are supposed to provide us with utensils, we were asked to bring our own cups and plates, for which we had to spend money. The bedsheets given to us are old and dirty, simply unusable”, said a girl student, adding, Bedsheets are changed only during inspection, and once the inspection is over, the old ones are back.”
While the hostel is supposed to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner, they are being provided only one meal at night. As a result, the girls are compelled to buy food from their college canteen. “I know, we are entitled to get a glass of milk along with snacks in the morning, a practice that was followed when I was living in another hostel in Ahmedabad last year,” pointed out Shital.
One of the girl students said, many of them had ended in spending money on food and conveyance. “Whatever money we have brought was actually meant for buying books and stationery,” she added. “Often, hostel authorities misbehave with us, making character assassination by telling us that we had gathered money to buy up good clothes through unscrupulous means.”
Hostel kitchen
Yet another girl said, “Many of us come from poor background. Our parents are not allowed to enter into the hostel because of the type of clothes they wear. We must meet them only outside. Only those with good clothes are allowed in.”
Meanwhile, the AKSM complaint, which reached the corridors of power in Gandhinagar, has finally made things moving in the hostel. On orders from state tribal secretary RS Meena, assistant tribal commissioner, tribal development visited the hostel last week, as a result of which the authorities began serving morning breakfast, confirmed a girl student.

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

Worrying signs in BJP: Modi, Shah begin 'cold-shouldering' Gujarat CM, party chief

By RK Misra*
The political developments in neighbouring Maharashtra where a Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government assumed office has had a trickle down effect in Gujarat with both the ruling BJP and the Congress opposition going into revamp mode.

'Favouring' tribals and ignoring Adivasis? Behind coercion of India's aborigines

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Tribal people account for 8.2% of India’s population. They are spread over all of India’s States and Union Territories. Even so they can be broadly classified into three groupings. The first grouping consists of populations who predate the Indo-Aryan migrations. These are termed by many anthropologists as the Austro-Asiatic-speaking Australoid people.