The 2,200 members of the Haryana Computer Teachers Welfare Association, who have been demanding permanent jobs for seven years and would be rendered jobless on October 16 in accordance with their contracts, protested on the streets of Panchkula on Monday and were stalled by the Panchkula police with the use of water cannons and lathis.
The computer teachers, who took to Panchkula roads, had first gathered at the Protest Ground at Sector 5 and marched to Sikhsha Sadan Building. As the Shiksha Sadan employees turned a blind eye to the protest, the protesters marched to the DC office, demanding to speak to the DC. However, the policemen allowed only five protestors to meet the DC, on the condition that the other protesters dispersed. Unrelenting to the condition that they disperse, the protesters continued to be on the premises of the DC office, following which, the Panchkula police used force to disperse them. “To maintain the law and order situation, we had to use force, in compliance with the rules,” said DCP Kamaldeep Goyal.
In-charge Chandimandir, Inspector Naveen Kumar said, “The protesters had blocked the main route that is used to commute to and from Majri. It was creating jams, in which several ambulances were also stuck. We politely asked them to leave but they refused, so we had to use force to disperse them. We used water at first, but as it had no affect on them. With no options left, we had to use laathis.”
Even as the city recorded several protests over the past two months, it was the first time that the Panchkula Police used force. As many as 20 protesters were injured due to the use of force and were later sent to the hospital. The protestors, including women, alleged that the use of force was inhumane and uncalled for.
The Haryana Computer Teachers Welfare Association president, Balram Dhiman, who also suffered injuries, said, “Police did not even spare women. They were dragged and beaten on the road. People who fell or were injured, were lifted by the police and stuffed in a bus. Both women and men had their clothes torn in the process. This sudden attack by the police, left many with their head bleeding.”
The association condemned the action of the police and alleged that the injured were not taken for immediate medical help but were first arrested and taken to the Chandimandir Police Station and only later, they were taken to the hospital.
A statement released by the association said, “While the Khattar government can be seen using tooth and nail trying to win the hearts of people, in view of the forthcoming assembly elections, the computer teachers, who comprise the ‘people’ it is trying to lure, are being dragged and beaten on the streets.”
Around 2,200 teachers have been imparting computer education at different government schools across the state since 2013. State president of the association Balaram Dhiman said, in the last six years, his service was terminated more than 10 times by the government. He alleged that the government did not want to provide a permanent solution, forcing the teachers to come on the roads and protest every year.
Union general secretary of the association, Rajiv Saini said that since the Education department had sanctioned 3,216 posts of computer teachers, which were lying vacant, the government should adjust the working computer teachers to the respective posts.