Protesting against new eligibility conditions imposed by the state government for recruitment, members of the B.Ed TET (Teacher Eligibility Test) pass Unemployed Teachers Association, who had gathered outside the house of State Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla in Sangrur, were dispersed by Punjab Police using force Sunday.
While the protesters claimed they were lathicharged, the Sangrur SSP said only water cannons were used.
These teachers have have been holding a dharna outside the Sangrur district commissioner’s office for the past two months. On Sunday they staged a protest outside Singla’s house. Police stopped them when they tried to burn effigies of the minister and Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh outside the former’s house.
Randeep Sangatpura, press secretary of the association, said, “Our members are sitting outside the DC’s office for the past two months. In today’s protest, police used force. However, we are protesting for our rights.”
Yudhjit Singh Bathinda and Gurjit Mansa, members of the committee of Unemployed Teachers Association said, “The government has made 55% marks in BA as eligibility for recruitment. Earlier it was 50% for general category and 45% for reserved categories. In the recent recruitment drive, they have mentioned a condition of 55% for all categories for applying. This is not justified. What about many others who have done B.Ed with 45% marks in BA, have cleared TET and are now waiting for jobs?”
In addition to this, members said that 37 years is the upper age limit for applying for a government job in general category while 42 years is for reserved category. Randeep said, “We want this age limit for general category to be raised to 42 and 47 for reserved categories.”
Balkar Manghania, a member of the association, said, “We have not been given jobs despite clearing TET and when we protest, we are beaten up, even women are not spared. Police lathicharged us, used water cannons on us as we tried to march ahead outside the education minister’s residence to burn the effigy.”
The protest outside Singla’s house continued for more than an hour. Later, duty magistrate and tehsildaar Jeewan Garg got meeting of teachers fixed with Singla for Tuesday at Chandigarh. Teachers dispersed from the spot after that.
No police case was filed against the teachers, though police claimed a few of them pelted stones at the officers. Sangrur SSP Dr Sandeep Garg told The Indian Express said, “So far no police case has been lodged on the teachers. Water cannons were used to disperse them. No lathicharge was done.”
Association members said they will continue their dharna outside the DC’s office and will decide their next move after meeting Singla.