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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Five woman teachers protesting transfers drink poison, four critical

They are members of an umbrella body of contractual school teachers named ‘Sikshak Oikyo Mancha’ (teachers’ unity forum), which has been seeking regularisation of services and revocation of transfer orders.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
August 25, 2021 6:12:24 am
Earlier this month, these five teachers had demonstrated before the residence of state education minister Bratya Basu and also outside the state secretariat, Nabanna.

Five woman contractual government teachers of primary schools on Tuesday tried to kill themselves by consuming poison outside Bikash Bhavan, the headquarters of the state education department, to protest against their transfers to “faraway districts”.

They are members of an umbrella body of contractual school teachers named ‘Sikshak Oikyo Mancha’ (teachers’ unity forum), which has been seeking regularisation of services and revocation of transfer orders.

As the protesting teachers entered the Bikash Bhavan complex raising slogans against the Trinamool Congress government, they were arrested on the charge of violating the Disaster Management Act which is currently in force across the state.

However, even a sizeable police contingent tried to take them away, four of the teachers consumed poison from bottles they held in their hands while the fifth was stopped by a woman constable before she could gulp the liquid down her throat. All five were rushed to nearby state-run hospitals. The condition of four was said to be serious while the fifth is out of danger, police said.

Earlier this month, these five teachers had demonstrated before the residence of state education minister Bratya Basu and also outside the state secretariat, Nabanna. According to one of the teachers, they were issued transfer orders after the protest outside Nabanna.

Before consuming the poison, one of the protesting teachers said, “One among us has been transferred to Dinhata of Cooch Behar district in north Bengal from the Sunderbans in the south. The place is roughly 600 km away from home. How are we supposed to work if we are transferred in this manner?”

State BJP vice-president Joy Prakash Majumdar said, “ There is lack of concern on part of the state government. This has forced the teachers to take such a step. This is a very unfortunate incident and we condemn it.”

Education minister Bratya Basu was not available for comment. Trinamool spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “We need to find out if they were provoked to take such a step. There is a need for a proper investigation.”

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