UP: Penury, Worries Over a Bleak Future, Shiksha Mitra Dies by Suicide in Firozabad
Representational image. | Image courtesy: flickr
Lucknow: Allegedly driven to penury, a 40-year-old Shiksha Mitra (a common term for contractual teachers) died by suicide on Sunday by hanging himself from the ceiling of his house in Uttar Pradesh. The deceased has been identified as Kaushal Singh from Gadhsan village under Naseerpur police station, Firozabad. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Singh had expressed his inability to bear the expenses repeatedly among family members before taking the drastic step.
Station House Officer (SHO) Nasirpur Gagan Goud said that Singh has died by suicide by hanging himself. "After Allahabad High Court quashed appointments of Shiksha Mitras as assistant teachers, Singh was mentally disturbed and was not able to fulfil family expenses," SHO told NewsClick, adding that the body has been handed over to the relatives after conducting the post-mortem.
"How can a family of five members survive on Rs 10,000 per month, that too a person who used to avail Rs 40,000 a few years back? My husband became a victim of the double standard of government policy. If he remained a government teacher and not demoted to Shiksha Mitra, he would have been alive today," the deceased's wife told NewsClick.
She further added, "What will be the future of my three children? How will I manage now? If the government is so insensitive that they can not understand the plight, Shiksha Mitra will continue to die."
This is the second such incident in a week. On September 10, a 30-year-old Shiksha Mitra allegedly killed himself by jumping in front of a train. The deceased has been identified as Kaushal Singh from Mirzapur Bela village under Chandpur police station, Bijnor.
"I am Kaushal Singh, working in Mirzapur Bela primary school as a Shiksha Mitra. I am taking extreme steps due to the government's double policy. I get only Rs 10,000 as honorarium and am unable to look after my family," a suicide note, said to be related to the case stated.
Uttar Pradesh has over 1.68 lakh Shiksha Mitras who teach in primary schools. These Shiksha Mitras were appointed on a contractual basis to assist primary school teachers in rural and urban areas for Rs 2,250/month and were upgraded to a pay scale of Rs 39,000/month. Around 1.37 lakh of them were promoted as permanent employees in 2014 by the state government.
This order was, however, quashed by the Allahabad High Court in September 2015. After the Supreme Court upheld the HC verdict, the teachers launched a massive agitation.
Satish Singh, a member Uttar Pradesh Prathamik Siksha Mitra Sangh (UPPSMS), an association of para-teachers said: " Hundreds of our colleagues lost their lives in the agitation, making their jobs permanent and issuance of appointment letters to those who have cleared the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) but the Yogi Adityanath-led government has turned deaf ears to the issue," he told NewsClick.
Singh further added that the majority of contractual employees working as a Shiksha Mitra in the state have been serving for five to ten years at a consolidated monthly pay of between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000, which is lesser than the minimum wage for highly skilled people.
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