On a day the police lathicharged former teachers protesting outside the state secretariat in Agartala over faulty recruitment policy, the Tripura government Wednesday agreed to meet the representatives of teachers’ bodies.
The contracts of 10,323 school teachers, including Graduate, Under-Graduate and Post-Graduate teachers, who were inducted in different phases since 2010, were terminated over faulty recruitment process by the Tripura High Court in 2014. The order was later upheld by the Supreme Court in 2017.
While many of them got placed in alternative jobs through interviews, over 8,000 were later re-inducted on ad hoc basis till March 31 this year, after which they were rendered jobless.
After meeting state Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath this evening, Ajoy Debbarma, a leader of the sacked teachers’ association, said he has agreed with their demands. He also said two leaders from each of different 10,323 sacked teacher bodies would meet Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb after seven days.
“We think our movement today is successful. We shall meet Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb after seven days on our demands. If we are satisfied with their solution, we shall suspend all agitations. But if discussion with CM ends inconclusive, we shall launch severe democratic movement”, Debbarma said.
Earlier in the day, several teachers’ organisations, under the aegis of ‘Justice for 10,323 Teachers’, held a procession from North Gate of the Ujjayanta Palace Compound till the state secretariat demanding alternate government placement, only to be blocked near Circuit House. The police responded through lathicharge, tear gas shells and used water cannon to disperse the protesters, resulting in injuring at least ten former school teachers.
“At least ten teachers were hospitalised after the policer action, 70-75 others sustained minor injuries as well,” Daliya Das, a sacked teacher, said.
The teachers’ agitation came a day after the state government yesterday approved a policy to provide opportunity to 9,686 discharged teachers out of sacked 10,323 to apply in 9,700 vacant non-technical posts of group C positions, soon to be notified by the government. The Cabinet has also approved age relaxation for all sacked teachers till March 31, 2023.
‘Justice for 10,323 Teachers’ criticised the government’s move and said the decision placed them at par with 7.5 lakh other unemployed youths of Tripura.
“We came to know from the press conference of the education minister that these posts would be recruited through open advertisements and open interviews. This offer is not going to solve the problem. We only get the opportunity to apply for the job. We demand the state government to arrange alternative govt jobs immediately as per their Vision Document promise,” Dipankar Debbarma, one of the many sacked teachers who gathered in front of the state secretariat, told reporters.
They claimed at least 67 sacked teachers have died due to depression, tension of financial crisis, diseases and other reasons since 2014, when their termination was first ordered by the High Court.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, New Capital Complex (NCC) Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Piya Madhuri Majumder, however, claimed none of the agitators were injured. “They disobeyed the road blockade set up by police and tried to go ahead disregarding our warnings. We had to issue mild lathi charge and water cannon to disperse the mob. No one was injured”, she said.
BJP, Oppn parties blame each other over recruitment process
Former revenue minister and CPI (M) leader Badal Choudhury later visited the protesters and extended support to their agitation. “Your movement is justified. The government should keep its promises. Keep at your movement for your rights. You have our full support”, Choudhury said.
The ex-minister also said that after the apex court upheld High Court verdict to terminate 10,323 teachers, the erstwhile Left government had created 13,000 non-teaching posts to accommodate them. He said interviews were conducted for those posts and the process was almost over but the new government came in power in the meantime.
State Congress president Pijush Kanti Biswas accused the state government of somersaulting on its pre-poll promise and supported the agitating teachers. He said both BJP-led central and state governments promised government jobs and lofty dreams to people before coming to power but turned away upon assuming power.
Reacting to this, BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said his party committed people to provide them livelihood before the polls but if people mistake it for government jobs, it can’t be helped.
He also claimed that the state government is trying to induct the sacked teachers in government jobs, but said the sacked teachers were instigated by CPIM and Congress parties to join the stir today.
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