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CM’s call to teachers backfires

Many walk out during his address, hit the streets in protest

Written by Mallica Joshi | New Delhi | Published: December 22, 2016 2:00:01 am
Delhi High Court, Najeeb Ahmed, Jawaharlal Nehru University, JNU missing student, Delhi Police, JNU protest, news, latest news, India news, national news Police used a water cannon to control the protesters. Prem Nath Pandey

Shalrinaaz Ansari topped her school in Class XII. She was among the top students at the District Institute of Education and Training and has even cleared the Central Teacher Eligibility Test, which barely 10 per cent of those who sit for the test are able to do.

Ansari has also been a guest teacher at a Delhi government school for the last three years.

On Wednesday, she was among the hundreds of disappointed guest teachers who attended Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s address at Chhatrasal Stadium on hiking the salary of guest teachers in Delhi.

At the interaction, the Delhi government told them that it has passed the proposal to increase their salaries by up to 90 per cent. The file now awaits the approval of the Lieutenant Governor.

All of this, however, had been communicated earlier this month. The guest teachers had hoped that the proposal would have been passed, and that’s why they were called.

“I had to fight with the establishment to pass this proposal. I know I had promised that I would do something for you when I come to power.

These past two years, we have had to face a lot of problems but I have done a lot to keep the promise,” Kejriwal said.

The teachers, however, were not convinced and started to get up and leave even before an interaction with the CM began.

“I have no job security and can be replaced as soon as a permanent teacher is appointed in my place. Guest teachers don’t even get maternity leave, which is a basic right. Our salaries are abysmal. Is this the way to treat a fully-qualified teacher?” Ansari asked.

Many gathered outside the stadium and stopped traffic for at least 30 minutes, shouting slogans against Kejriwal. Soon after, the police dispersed protesters using a water cannon. Police said they used only “mild” methods.

The teachers alleged they were forced attend the event and that many had to sign a register while collecting their passes from the entry gates. “The head of my school had asked all guest teachers to be present. We knew that it would be futile but had to follow orders,” said a teacher, who later joined protesters.
Kejriwal, however, brushed away the teachers’ disappointment at a press conference and said that those protesting were not teachers but men and women sent by the BJP and the Congress.
“Guest teachers did not oppose me. They just wanted to know when the decision would be implemented. I told them that it was up to the L-G,” he said.
There are over 15,000 guest teachers in Delhi. They are paid Rs 17,500-22,500 — based on the number of days they teach.

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