While the world is busy locking horns to be the first in coming out with a COVID-19 vaccine, India is deep submerged in heaty communal and caste conflicts that clearly proves that the virus is not outside but in our heads. A proof of the same is the report of a 23-year-old boy quarantined in a Nainital village, who refused to eat food prepared or drink water touched by Dalit woman cook. Also Read - Mumbai to Open Drive-in Vaccination Centres in Several Areas. Check List

Serving quarantine in a government primary school in Nainital’s Bhumka village, Dinesh Chandra Milkani, his 12-year-old nephew and three others are being served food and water since May 15 by Bhawani Devi who belongs to Dalit community. She told TOI, “While the rest ate it, Dinesh said his food will come from his home. I thought it was normal, so I did not say anything. However later he also refused to drink water touched by me.” Also Read - CM Yogi Issues Fresh Instructions, Tasks Team-9 To Ensure All-Round Effort To Tackle Covid 2.0

The village pradhan Mukesh Chandra Baudhh intervened but to no avail. He revealed, “Milkani said that his food will be delivered by his family. But, when we asked him to drink water touched by Devi, he refused again. It was a clear case of caste discrimination so I lodged a complaint with the officials.” Also Read - Covid-19: CSK Star Suresh Raina Urges For Oxygen, Bollywood Actor Sonu Sood Responds With Help

Nainital district magistrate Savin Bansal said, “I was told about the incident after which I asked for an inquiry report. Appropriate action will be taken in the case if the charges are found to be true.”

The pradhan shared that Milkani has even refused to let anyone touch the food that is delivered by his family, which is left by them at the gate along with drinking water. The report in the news agency revealed that Milkani has now been booked under section 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection), section 271 (disobedience to quarantine rule) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as under relevant sections of the SC/ST Act, as per the revenue officials.

In his defense, Milkani said that he was not well. “Mere upar devta aate hain (I get possessed by deity)”, he shared and hence needed the food from home. He refuted, “The allegation that I refused to eat food because the woman belongs to a lower caste is false. I always eat home-cooked food and therefore I refused the food. There is no case of caste discrimination. And I do not eat food prepared by others because sometimes I get possessed by the deity.”

We might be in the 21st century and a promising nuclear power but youths like Milkani are a sure shot dent to any progress that the country might have made since the dark ages! We hope he gets well soon, physically and mentally!