Patna: The people of Kalyanpur allowed Sunita Kunwar to cook the midday meal at the village's government middle school after the district magistrate warned of legal action against those opposing her.
The Telegraph had reported in its Friday edition how residents of the village in Gopalganj district, around 200km northwest of Patna, had stopped Sunita (36) from cooking for the school kids, claiming it is "a bad omen" because she is a widow.
District magistrate Rahul Kumar, who visited the village today, told the villagers that the administration would lodge FIRs against those spreading rumours. "To spread superstition is an offence and those trying to violate the law would be prosecuted under the relevant sections of the Anti-Superstition and Black Magic Act," he told the residents. Later, he told reporters: "The officials have been asked to keep a close surveillance on people trying to spread social discrimination."
Gopalganj district education officer Ashok Kumar said that Sunita prepared the meal in the presence of the DM, who dined with the students and teachers. Assisted by the school's five other cooks, Sunita served rice, chhole and salad.
The DM spent more than an hour convincing the people, and pointed out that Sunita was sacked without due procedure.
Sunita lost her job in February last year. After her protests fell on deaf ears at different levels of the village and school administration, she had met DM Rahul at his janata darbar. After the district authorities ordered she be reinstated, a mob of around 150 people had stormed the school on Wednesday and forced it shut.
" Hum aaj bahut khush hain (I'm very happy today)," Sunita said today.
The bitter story had a happy ending for all characters. Sunita's erstwhile replacement Babita would be given a job at a nearby school, said education officer Ashok Kumar.