Patna: Striking Bihar contractual schoolteachers on Tuesday staged a protest with a difference. They went begging in Patna and announced intensification of their stir to press for their demands, including ‘equal pay for equal work’ and reverting to the old pension scheme.
Hundreds of striking teachers took to the streets, they stood on busy roads near railway station and posh market places in the heart of Patna begging.
With no move by the state government to talk to them, the teachers went for this novel protest.
”Begging by striking teachers wearing black badges is an embarrassment for the government which has so far ignored them. It is a protest against the harsh stand of the government,”Amit Vikram, a leader of striking teachers said.
Vikram said they would hand over the collected alms to Bihar Education Minister, Krishnandan Prasad Verma.
Brajnandan Sharma, convener of Bihar Rajya Shikshak Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti, blamed the government for prolonged strikes by teachers. The authorities should admit that teaching in 76,000 government run schools is badly affected, he told Newsclick.
Sharma said the striking teachers would stage an ‘Akrosh’ march on March 5 to protest against the government’s “indifference and anti-education policies.”
“The government should take a decision in the interest of schoolchildren. Its rigidity and dictatorial approach toward striking teachers is putting the future of lakhs of students in danger”, he added.
The strike by nearly 4.5 lakh contractual schoolteachers, mostly in primary and middle schools, across the state entered the 16th day on March 3. They have been on the indefinite strike since February 17, the day Class 10th examination by the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) started. Yet, there is no move to open a dialogue with them
Meanwhile, the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and CPI (ML) members raised the issue of striking teachers for the second consecutive day in the Bihar Assembly and staged a prhotest demanding that their demands be fulfilled.
However, the state government has so far acted against more than 8,000 striking teachers by suspending, dismissing and lodged cases against them.
Different organisations and associations of striking teachers have expressed dismay over the harsh or punitive action by the government against the teachers who are protesting peacefully for their rights.
According to Samiti leaders, the ongoing evaluation of copies of the Class 12th examinations were badly hit by the strike.