Newspaper reports have revealed that school-goers in some southern Indian schools are being made to wear colour coded wristbands to indicate their caste. The wristbands that come in shades of red, yellow, green and saffron indicate whether the wearer is a Dalit or untouchable or from an upper caste.
As a result of the report the government has ordered officials in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu to investigate, as the practice is illegal and being used by student gangs to target victims based on their caste. What is incredible is that some helpless teachers in local schools are subjected to the same sort of caste discrimination as the students
The judge who ordered the investigation said if indeed the practice is prevalent, it is a serious violation of human rights, in particular the Dalit community students. Once the clarification of the report is received they will suggest how the government can contain this illegal and ‘sinful’ act, which is actually enforced by powerful community leaders rather than the schools themselves. Other caste markers are also being used, which has led to discrimination and communal clashes.
Local officials have asked the education department to ban the wristbands, but no official written order has yet been issued.