WB Police Remove TET-Qualified Protesters in Midnight Crackdown, Clash With SFI-DYFI Next Morning
On Thursday night, the 2014 TET-qualified aspiring teachers’ movement was dismantled by the police at Karunamoyi in Kolkata, where they had gathered on the road to hold a fast-unto-death protest. It is alleged that the job seekers were forcibly dragged away from the protest site late at night.
There are also allegations that three agitators are yet to be found after the crackdown.
Less than 12 hours later, the police again cracked down on Left student and youth activists of SFI and DYFI, who had planned a protest rally at Karunamoyi bus stand at 12 noon on Friday against the forceful removal of the protesting teachers.
All opposition parties in the state, including the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and the Congress, have called for demonstrations across the state on Friday to protest the incident.
A large number of police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel were deployed at the protest site in front of the council office since Thursday evening after the High Court ordered that section 144 would be in force there. According to the court order, the police force came and continuously announced for the protesters to clear the area. But the job seekers held their position.
As the gathering of the police increased, the protesters also raised the intensity of slogan chanting and other peaceful activities. Then the 84-hour-long protest and 61-hour-long hunger strike was lifted in a matter of around 15 minutes after 12:00 PM.
A protesting job seeker said, "Are we thieves? We are being tortured and arrested by the police!" The protesters also accused the police of insulting the Constitution.
In the words of another, "All the work of this government is done in the dark of the night. Candidates are selected at night. Results are announced at night. Appointments are made at night."
The police declared the protest gathering illegal at night. Then two minutes were given to withdraw the movement. When the agitators did not agree to leave, they were dragged into buses. Women activists were not spared either. Two job seekers also tried to commit suicide by lying under the wheels of a bus, but the police stopped them.
Several people fell ill and got injured during the police crackdown. Some were taken away from the protest site in ambulances. It is learned that all of them were first brought to Bidhannagar North Police Station and Newtown Police Station. Later that night, they were dropped off at Dharmatala, Sealdah, and Howrah.
Protesters have complained that the three leaders of the movement cannot be found. They are - Arnab Ghosh, Joint Secretary of TET Graduates Organisation, Achintya Samant, and Achintya Dhara. According to the latest update, they remain missing. A phone belonging to one of them was reportedly recovered from the protest site. The same complaint came from their family. The police are yet to comment on the matter.
The agitators have warned the police that the three leaders should be brought to the protest site under the Matangini Hazara Statue in Dharmatala by 11 o'clock today; otherwise, they will start a larger movement.
The Students Federation of India (SFI) and the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) started taking to the streets on Friday across the state to protest against 'police torture' of job seekers at Karunamoyi in Salt Lake City. The protest march was scheduled to begin from Karunamoyi Mor at 12 noon. However, some of their leaders like madhuja Sen Roy and Sayandip Mitra were arrested before the march began. Following this, others moved to near the City Centre mall and started protesting their. The police cracked down on the Left youth and student activists and detained many of them including DYFI state secretary Meenakshi Mukherjee, according to the Indian Express.
From the beginning of the TET-qualified job seekers’ movement, various left-wing organisations were seen to be on the side of the teachers. They have come to the road many times with the demands of the aspiring teachers. After the midnight incident on Thursday, they chose the same route to protest.
Meenakshi Mukherjee had called for the protest march at midnight on Thursday. She said, "From the former education minister to the president of the board, everyone went to jail. Many jobs were cancelled. And those who are eligible are sitting on the streets; the police illegally dragged them away to break up yet another movement. We will march against it.”
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