Kolkata: As the indefinite fast by para-teachers seeking a salary hike entered the 19th day on Tuesday, the West Bengal government contended that show-cause notices were being issued to those who did not take classes during this period.
In a notice, Shubhanjan Das, the state project director of Paschim Banga Samagra Siksha Mission, said he had been asked by the government to seek an explanation for absence from the teachers who have skipped work between November 11 and 23.
"I have been directed to request you to immediately show cause for absence from the period of November 11 to November 23 from school without prior intimation or approval," the notice issued by Das said.
He sought a reply in the matter from the striking teachers within 10 days.
The official, in his letter, also asked the district education officers to forward to the higher authorities any explanation that was found to be "unsatisfactory".
"If any para-teacher claims to have done field duty, the authenticity needs to be verified," the notice said.
Over 1,000 para-teachers, who work on contract in government-run schools, have been staging a sit-in since November 11 near Bikash Bhavan (higher education department headquarters) in Salt lake, demanding a revision in pay scale.
At least 37 of them are observing an indefinite fast since November 15.
Terming the government's move as "intimidatory", Bhagirath Ghosh, a member of a para-teachers' association, said the protest would continue till the government conceded.
He said around 20 teachers have fallen ill during the course of protest, but "our moral strength remains intact".
"This is nothing but pressure tactics... We will continue our agitation till the government sits for talks and agrees to our basic demands of salary hike and 'elementary' teacher status for the para teachers," Ghosh, the co-convenor of Para-Teachers' Oikya Manch, added.