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Guest teachers versus guest teachers: As one group protests against Delhi govt, another speaks up for it

This comes two weeks after hundreds of guest teachers held a protest near the Chief Minister’s residence, once again demanding a policy that will let them work till the age of retirement.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: December 23, 2021 7:37:24 am
The All Indian Guest Teachers Association, which has been leading the protests in the capital, questioned the manner in which Wednesday’s press conference was conducted.(File)

Members of a government schools’ guest teachers group held a press conference in the Delhi Secretariat, denouncing recent protests by guest teachers in the national capital as “political”.

The press conference, in which members of the Dilli Atithi Shikshak Sangh spoke, was held in the Delhi Secretariat’s Media Centre.

This comes two weeks after hundreds of guest teachers held a protest near the Chief Minister’s residence, once again demanding a policy that will let them work till the age of retirement. Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu had joined the protest, in response to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal joining a Punjab guest teachers’ protest in Mohali. Another protest is scheduled to take place outside Deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s residence Saturday.

“The protests have been taking place for some time and some of our colleagues have recently even stopped being guest teachers. They are being politicised. And people like Sidhu, in whose states guest teachers are on the brink of suicide, are attending. We had seen our respected CM Kejriwal go there when those teachers were protesting from atop a water tank… These people are coming here and swaying us, they are swaying our colleagues. We appeal to them not to sully our image as teachers. Since our matters are resolved by speaking to the government from time to time, we don’t even need to protest,” said Anita Rathee, one of the guest teachers at Wednesday’s press conference.

The teachers also spoke about different measures the Delhi government adopted to benefit them.

The All Indian Guest Teachers Association, which has been leading the protests in the capital, questioned the manner in which Wednesday’s press conference was conducted. “How can the government let a private organisation use its institutions? They are sitting in the Secretariat and delivering government statements, it is a misuse of government institutions… This is being done only to stop our protest on December 25,” said Shoaib Rana, an AIGTA member.

Government representatives did not respond to queries on why the press conference was carried out in the Delhi Secretariat.

Bhanu Priya, president of the Dilli Atithi Shikshak Sangh, said, “We are lucky that we have an education minister like Manish Sisodia and we are very proud to say ‘Shiksha mantri ho toh Manish Sisodia jaisa ho’.”

“In 2016, when we demanded an increase in our salaries, the government doubled it in three months… in October 2017, our bill (for regularisation) was passed in the Vidhan Sabha and was sent to the L-G. Because we are a Union Territory, it is hard to get bills passed by the L-G and this one didn’t… but the government did not wash their hands of the issue when we asked them to find another way… the government made a policy for us to work till 60 years and that is also pending with the L-G… Besides this, the government has given us maternity leave and pay… we started getting respect in schools only under the Aam Aadmi Party government,” said Bhanu Priya.

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