There was tension at Baghapurana village in Moga district, where protesting teachers have occupied a water tank, when one of them attempted self-immolation on Wednesday, the second day of the stir.
Samarjeet Singh Brar, claiming to be a state-level committee member of the union representing teachers under the Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS), Special Trainer (STR) and Alternative and Innovative Educators (AIE) scheme, pour petrol on himself and attempted to light a matchstick when he was stopped by others present.
The infuriated teachers, who are demanding the release of their colleagues arrested in Bathinda, then began to gherao sub-divisional magistrate Nidhi Kalotra, who was sitting nearby. Union leader Kulwant Kumari allegedly tried to push the SDM but police intervened and took her away. They also planned to resort to a lathicharge, but the situation was brought under control.
The protesting teachers, meanwhile, intensified their protest on Wednesday. Apart from refusing to come down from the water tank, they also blocked the entire main chowk and roads in Baghapurana.
There has been heavy police presence near the water tank since Tuesday. Teachers even cooked their food out in open on Tuesday night.
They have been demanding the release of 11 teachers under arrest in Bathinda and also want a meeting with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Jaspreet Kaur, district president of the union, said they have been seeking a meeting with the CM for the past fifteen days. She further said the teachers will not come down from the water tank till their demands are met.
Moga DC P S Gill said, “Efforts are on from our side to bring them down but they are adamant. They are demanding the release of teachers in Bathinda which is a legal matter. They need to apply for bail if they want their colleagues released and talk to us properly.”
Moga SSP J S Khaira said, “Nothing has happened to the teacher and he is safe. They are not agreeing to come down and police are on toes to handle the situation.”