Patna: A day after facing brutal police action, thousands of contractual school teachers staged a protest in Bihar on Friday (July 19), observing a black day and burnt effigies of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to express their anger.
Bihar Rajya Prarambhik Shikshak Sangh leader Pradeep Kumar Pappu told NewsClick, “Teachers in all 38 district headquarters staged protest, burning effigies of Nitish Kumar and observed black day against police action.”
More than 50 protesting contractual school teachers were injured in police action while they were on their way to gherao the Bihar Assembly on Thursday, demanding salary at par with permanent teachers working in various government schools in the state.
Police used water cannons, tear gas and lathicharge protesting teachers to disperse them near the state Assembly. According to the teachers, despite the scorching heat and humidity, they had started a peaceful protest march towards the Bihar Assembly. However, the police barred them from moving ahead. As a result, a group of the protesting teachers tried to break the barricade and the police responded with force to disperse them.
The protesting contractual school teachers have got the full support of opposition leaders, who raised the issue of police action against the teachers in the ongoing monsoon session of Bihar Assembly. MLAs and MLCs from Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) staged protest in and outside the state Assembly. The protesting MLAs also disrupted the proceedings of the Assembly forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House. Opposition leaders have described the police action as a move to suppress the rights to protest given by the Constitution.
Former Chief Minister Rabri Devi, who is the leader of opposition in the Bihar Legislative Council, said that the Nitish Kumar-led government has been attacking teachers time and again for raising their genuine demands and that the government should consider their demands.
Congress MLC Premchand Mishra said, “Police action against teachers is very shameful. They were beaten and injured. Nitish Kumar should take moral responsibility for it and resign.”
Prarambhik Madhyamik Sikhshak Sangh president Rakesh Bharti and its General secretary Ashwani Kumar Pathak on Friday warned the government that the teachers’ protest will continue till their demand of equal pay for equal work is fulfilled.
The 18 school teachers’ associations, who were part of the protest have also questioned police action against the protesting teachers and threatened to intensify the protest in coming days.
Leader of Bihar Rajya Shikhshak Sangarsh Samanvay Samiti, Rajesh Ranjan said that after the Supreme Court’s decision in favour of the state government in May this year, thousands of contractual school teachers in Bihar are angry and have threatened to go on strike.
The state government had challenged Patna High Court's order, which had ruled that contractual teachers in government schools were entitled to salary at par with regular permanent teachers working in various government schools in Bihar.
Setting aside the Patna High Court judgement, the Supreme Court had refused to regularise jobs of about 3.5 lakh contractual teachers in Bihar. In protest of this verdict, many contractual school teachers – also known as Niyojit Shikshak – had threatened to launch protest after summer vacation.
Also read: Dozens of Contractual School Teachers Injured in Police Action During Protest in Bihar