November 27, 2021 8:44:11 pm
A 36-YEAR old Punjab Government Elementary Teacher (ETT), in the wee hours of Saturday, climbed atop a mobile tower inside the MLA Hostel, Sector 3. Sohan Singh, a government employee posted in a primary school in Baddri village, Barnala, tried to immolate himself by pouring kerosene in support of his demand for a salary hike.
He declined to come down and threatened to kill himself if somebody tried to forcefully bring him down. Sources said nobody noticed when Sohan Singh entered the hostel premises, in spite of the area being under police scrutiny. He carried a rucksack bag with him and made a temporary shelter on a small platform on the BSNL tower.
As information spread, senior officers of the Punjab education department, the intelligence wing and UT police rushed to the spot. A fire brigade team was also called.
Punjab AIG (intelligence), Anil Joshi, SHO PS 17, Inspector Om Parkash and the Punjab education secretary tried to convince Sohan Singh over the phone to come down but he declined. He broke down and started crying while talking to the education secretary.
A senior officer said, “Sohan Singh is among 180 ETT teachers who were enrolled in 2016 in surplus numbers. The state government promised them to adjust in the new recruitment of ETT teachers, which will shortly happen as per the central government rules. A Punjab government ETT teacher’s salary is around Rs 60,000, more than twice what can be earned by one who is hired on the central government pattern. The 180 teachers including Sohan Singh had met the Punjab education minister who assured them the necessary help.”
Sources said apparently Sohan Singh climbed the tower with eatables enough for a few days. He told the officials that he will come down when his file of salary is cleared. Sohan was sitting on top of the tower till the filing of this report.
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