Tripura rocked by teachers’ indefinite stir, they reject govt offer, continue protest
Along with their children and family members, thousands of retrenched teachers under the banner of Joint Movement Committee vowed to continue their agitation until the govt reinstated their jobs
Braving the cold weather, the indefinite protest by thousands of Tripura government school teachers, who had lost their jobs following court's ruling, continued for the sixth day on Saturday even as they rejected the BJP-led government's offer to apply for the vacant posts.
Accompanied by their children and family members, thousands of retrenched teachers under the banner of the Joint Movement Committee (JMC) continued their protests throughout the day and vowed to continue their agitation until the government reinstated their jobs.
After Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, state Education and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath has urged the agitated teachers to compete for the vacant 9,000 posts in various departments, including the Education department, for which the state government recently issued recruitment notifications.
These vacant posts notified by the government comprise "Group C" and "Group D" posts even as most government teachers are equivalent to "Group C" category employees.
"Instead of agitations, these teachers must get ready and apply for their alternative government jobs as the BJP government is sympathetic to their cause and that's why recently published a necessary notification to recruit people against 9,000 vacant government posts," Nath told the media.
Accusing the previous Left Front government, Nath said due to the mistakes and wrong decisions of the erstwhile Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led government, 10,323 government teachers had lost their jobs.
"Even the Left government headed by former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar did not follow the single bench order given by the Tripura High Court in 2011," Nath added.
The current Opposition leader Sarkar told the media that after the Tripura HC and the Supreme Court had terminated the jobs of 10,323 government teachers in 2011, 2014 and 2017, the then Left Front government had created 13,000 posts to accommodate these teachers alternatively.
"The BJP leaders before the 2018 Assembly polls conspired against these 10,323 government teachers and filed petitions before the Supreme Court and promised to regularise their jobs if they come to power. But nothing has been done for these hapless teachers," said Sarkar, who was the Chief Minister for 20 years till the BJP-led government came to power in Tripura in March 2018.
The BJP-led Tripura government had earlier given a lump-sum financial aid of Rs 35,000 to the residual numbers of 8,882 government school teachers, who lost their jobs from March 31 this year, following SC and Tripura HC verdicts which had cited "discrepancies in recruitments".
Of the 10,323 former government teachers, 1,365 people got alternative jobs and availed different income avenues while 76 people died with many of them committing suicide.
JMC's Joint Convener Dalia Das said the teachers already completed their government service for many years and several of them crossed their stipulated age limit while the state government's offer is "impractical" and against the interest of the teachers.
"We had called off our agitation after CM Biplab Deb on October 3 assured to take steps to solve our problems permanently within two months. The two months have already lapsed but Deb and his government are yet to take any step when the teachers are suffering a lot after losing their jobs in March this year," Das told the media.
Another JMC's Joint Convener Bimal Saha said thousands of teachers, including their family members, are facing hardships for the past nine months while 76 retrenched teachers have already died with some committing suicide. The teachers were inducted into the state government schools in different phases from 2010 when the CPI(M)-led Left government was in power.
The Tripura HC in 2011 and 2014 directed termination of services of all 10,323 teachers, saying the selection criteria had "discrepancies" and subsequently, the SC upheld the HC's decision. After separate appeals by the previous Left and the incumbent BJP governments', the SC, however, extended their services up to March 2020.