Updated: December 19, 2015 5:23:24 am
THREE days after Data Entry Operators (DEOs) faced police wrath after going berserk, over 50 persons from Matang community were injured after they suffered brutal lathicharge from the police Friday.
Comprising about 1,500 youth, women and old-aged participants, the protesters had come all the way from Nanded in Marathwada to press their demand for reservation for the community. Around 3 pm, some of the protesters tried to break the cordon, saying that a delegation should be allowed to meet the chief minister. The police tried to push them back and even beat up two of the youths who were trying to jump the barricades. This led to sudden chaos and other protesters also tried to break the cordon. The police then started beating all of them mercilessly. The protesters started running for cover but the police chased and beat many of them up. Eight of the fifty have been seriously injured.
The community, along with many other smaller communities, under the banner of Lok Swarajya Andolan, has been fighting for benefits of reservation. Explaining their problems, Sunil Gaikwad, one of the organisers, told The Indian Express, “Though Matangs technically have reservation rights, the benefits that are furnished to the scheduled castes are actually cornered by some dominant castes like Bouddhas, cobblers and dors. That is why we have been fighting for classification of all scheduled castes into A, B, C and D categories so the benefits could reach all. The same has been recommended by the Laghuji Salwe committee in the state in 2005 and Usha Mehra committee at the Centre. But nothing is being done. Hence, this agitation.”
Meanwhile, uneasy calm prevails at the rally of DEOs, who are continuing to sit in near the state legislature. Their earlier meetings with Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over their demand for regularisation of job as government employees have so far yielded no result.
Sources in the Chief Minister’s office told The Indian Express, “We have assured the DEOs that there will be continuity in their jobs. But, it is not imminently possible to accept their demand for a permanent job with Rs 15,000 salary per month. This is because there are thousands of other contractual workers like ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist), anganwadi sevikas etc. It is not possible to give them all permanent government jobs. But we are hopeful that some ice will be broken in the case by tomorrow.”
Asked about DEOs’ allegation that they were given Rs 4,000 against the assurance of Rs 8,000 per month when they were hired by Rural Development Ministry, sources said, “That is not true. The GR clearly mentioned that each gram panchayat would have Rs 8,000 per month for two heads of salary and computer consumables, each Rs 4,000.”
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