Protesting teachers canecharged in Patiala, cops among 13 injured
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.