When 80-year-old Harbans Kaur woke up on Thursday morning, the last thing she expected was to be caught in the fight between three teachers and the Punjab government. The three ETT teachers were sitting atop the mobile tower located in the sprawling compound of her Sector 3 house.
On Friday, Kaur set off to meet Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at his official residence in Sector 2, to find out what he was doing to bring the three down and out of her premises, but she was told he was not in town. Kaur told Chandigarh Newsline that “for no fault”, she has to face problems. “I spoke to these three people yesterday. But they didn’t listen. I asked them what is my fault and who gave you permission to enter into my house and climb the tower,” she said.
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A friend of Kaur, who is a social worker, also tried to talk to them on Friday, but the protesting teachers refused to come down. On Thursday, she had come to know about the three people climbed atop only after the media and the police arrived in the area.
“I was alone in my house. Media, police and fire brigade arrived outside my house. These teachers had called the media informing them about it,” she stated. Angry also at the Punjab government, Kaur said, “Why is the government not talking to them? CM should meet them so that the problem can be ended.”
On a complaint from Kaur, the Chandigarh Police on Friday booked the trio for trespass and attempt to suicide. The police said on the second consecutive day on Saturday, the teachers refused to come down. The protesting teachers are from the Elementary Teacher Training (ETT), Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) Pass Unemployed Teacher Union Punjab, and are demanding jobs. DSP (Central) Ram Gopal said that the protesting teachers refused to come down despite several attempts by the police.
Friday’s incident followed an identical protest by two teachers of the same teachers’ union who climbed a mobile tower at Punjab Bhawan 10 days ago. They too are refusing to come down and are demanding a meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister. The police have not registered any case in this incident.
The protesting teachers said that the Punjab government issued an advertisement in 2015 for the recruitment of 4,500 TET pass teachers and then another advertisement was again published this year for the recruitment of 2,005 more teachers. According to Kamboj, a total of 5,500 teachers were TET pass against 6,505 vacancies and the government filled a total of 4,800 vacancies while 700 vacancies were still lying vacant. He said the teachers should be recruited for the vacant posts.