Several users are claiming on social media that the Congress government in Karnataka has directed women involved in making mid-day meals for children not to wear bangles. The order has apparently come from the state’s education department. Criticizing the Congress government for the directive, social media users are claiming this is how Congress is trying to ban Hindu religious practices.

Karnataka BJP president Nalinkumar Kateel (@nalinkateel) said in a tweet on July 15 that the ban on wearing bangles for the mid-day meal worker was ‘another hateful order from the Congress government that is venomous against the Hindus’ and that the government was trying to suppress Hindu practices. He added that the Congress had protested against the burqa-ban order of the erstwhile BJP government in Karnataka but was now following a ‘repressive policy’ towards Hindus.

The state spokesperson of Hindu Janajagruti Samaj for Karnataka 🚩Mohan gowda🇮🇳 (@Mohan_HJS), who has shared misinformation at least twice in the past one week, tweeted a screenshot of a news report and claimed that the Karnataka government had banned women preparing mid-day meal department from wearing bangles. He raised the question if this was an ‘attempt to ban Hindu religious practice’. He also added: “Why is there no ban on the act of spitting on the bread of other community ?”. He also shared an image of a document written in Kannada which apparently contains a few points that the SDMC (School Development and Monitoring Committee) needs to keep in mind. The context of the text document is not clear from the tweet. (Archive)

The readers should note that claims related to Muslims spitting in food items have been debunked by Alt News several times in the past.

News outlet Asianet News published a news report in Kannada with the same claim and mentioned that this kind of order had outraged the Hindus. (Archive)

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Fact Check

We ran a relevant keyword search and came across several news reports related to the matter. According to a news report by Deccan Herald, the reports and claims that the Karnataka state education department had issued such an order for the women involved in mid-meal preparation were false. Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah had himself clarified this. The report mentions that the CM clarified that the directive that women should not wear bangles while cooking had come from the Centre under the PM POSHAN Scheme.

The report also adds that apart from bangles, the women staff have also been advised to not wear nail polish, artificial nails, watches, rings, jewellery or bangles while cooking, serving and distributing as these items may pose a risk of contaminating the food.

PM POSHAN, a flagship programme of the Union government, aims at improving the nutritional status of children, encouraging poor children, belonging to disadvantaged sections, to attend school more regularly and providing nutritional support to children of primary stage in drought-affected areas during summer vacation.

We found the document of PM POSHAN Scheme guidelines as published by the Union ministry of education. Under the category of ‘Personal hygiene, cleanliness and health check-ups of Cook cum Helpers’ the document clearly states that: “Nail polish or artificial nails should not be worn because they can become foreign bodies and may compromise on food safety. No watches, rings, jewellery and bangles should be worn during cooking, serving and distribution where there is a danger of contamination of product.”

We also came across a tweet by the official handle of the Karnataka CM where they clarified that the state education department had not released any dress code guidelines for the Anganwadi cooking staff and that this updated policy had come from the Centre under the PM POSHAN Scheme.

Therefore, the claim that the Congress government in Karnataka debarred women mid-day meal staff from wearing bangles and thus was trying to curb Hindu religious practices is false. The directive has come from the Union government under the PM POSHAN scheme.

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