Protest­ing teach­ers canecharged in Pa­tiala, cops among 13 in­jured

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - Ht Punjab - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ter­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ■

PA­TIALA : At least 13 peo­ple, in­clud­ing three cops, were in­jured when po­lice lath­icharged a group of teach­ers march­ing to­wards Pun­jab chief min­is­ter Cap­tain Amarinder Singh’s res­i­dence to protest against con­di­tions for their reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion in Pa­tiala on Sun­day.

A to­tal of 8,886 teach­ers re­cruited on con­tract un­der the cen­trally-spon­sored Sarva Shik­sha Ab­hiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Mad­hyamik Shik­sha Ab­hiyan (RMSA) as well as Adarsh and Model Schools are protest­ing against the state govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to reg­u­larise their ser­vices on a “mea­gre” monthly salary of ₹15,300 against ₹40,000 to ₹45,000.

Thou­sands of teach­ers and mem­bers of other unions gath­ered at Vir Haqiqat Rai Ground, op­po­site the ISBT, and started march­ing to­wards the CM’S res­i­dence. As they reached near the YPS Chowk and started re­mov­ing bar­ri­cades, po­lice used ba­ton and wa­ter cannons to dis­perse them. A su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice-rank of­fi­cial was also in­jured, said the po­lice.

The 2km ra­dius around the CM res­i­dence was turned into a fortress. Around 2,500 po­lice per­son­nel were de­ployed in the city to tackle the sit­u­a­tion.

“The Congress govern­ment has failed to ful­fil its prom­ise. It is vic­tim­is­ing the teach­ers who are protest­ing for their rights,” said Davin­der Pu­nia, con­vener of the San­jha Ad­hya­pak Mor­cha.

“We called off out 57-day protest in De­cem­ber af­ter school ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter OP Soni’s as­sur­ance. But five teach­ers were ter­mi­nated and salaries of those teach­ers who did not opt for reg­u­lar­i­sa­tion were slashed. Now, the govern­ment is try­ing to sup­press our voice by us­ing force. But we will not budge and in­ten­sify our protest,” he said.

IT’S MUR­DER OF DEMOC­RACY: SUKHBIR

Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal con­demned the use of force on teach­ers in Pa­tiala. Terming it the mur­der of democ­racy, the SAD chief said the lath­icharge on teach­ers was rem­i­nis­cent of ar­ro­gant and dic­ta­to­rial rule by a “Raja” (Capt Amarinder Singh).

Leader of op­po­si­tion in the Pun­jab as­sem­bly Harpal Singh Cheema also con­demned the po­lice ac­tion. In a state­ment, Cheema said had the CM met them, the un­for­tu­nate clash be­tween po­lice and teach­ers would not have taken place.

Pun­jabi Ekta Party (PEP) chief Sukh­pal Singh Khaira said it re­flected the feu­dal char­ac­ter of the state govern­ment.

Pa­tiala MP Dharamvira Gandhi termed it as the govern­ment’s move to sub­due the voice of pro­test­ers.

BHARAT BHUSHAN/HT

Cops us­ing ba­tons to stop protest­ing teach­ers near chief min­is­ter Capt Amarinder Singh’s res­i­dence in Pa­tiala on Sun­day and (be­low) a pro­tester in­jured in the po­lice ac­tion.

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