Last week there were reports that a growing number of school students did not lay claim to any caste or religion.
The State government announced that at the time of admission 1.24 lakh students from both private and public schools did not bother to fill up columns describing caste and religion, according to The Indian Express. This is reportedly a record.
During the ongoing Assembly Session, a legislator of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from Vamanapuram, DK Murali, asked the State government about the number of students who had chosen not to answer what caste or religion they come under.
Responding to this query during Question Hour, the State education minister C Raveendranath said that 1,23,630 students from Class I-X left those columns blank, while the number in Class XI and XII were 278 and 239 respectively. These figures were based on the 2017-18 academic year. However, the minister reportedly did not give a district-wise breakdown of the figures.
However, these figures are now being disputed by certain schools. According to The News Minute report, this could well be a “technical error”.
Having said that, some commentators argue that the State isn’t the progressive bastion as some suggest. “It’s a fallacy that casteism is not practiced rigidly in Kerala. We may speak and write that Kerala is a progressive state, but the truth is that Dalits and minorities still face a tough time from upper caste people,” said Mini Mohan, a sociologist and trade unionist, speaking to The News Minute.
(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)