TN: Police Clamp Down on Protesting School Teachers in Chennai
Teachers gathered on the first day of protest
Chennai: The Tamil Nadu police picked-up around 2,000 protesting school teachers in Chennai early morning on Thursday and detained them in various venues. Some of them were detained for over 12 hours, and were released past 7 p.m.
Angered by the sudden clamp-down, school teachers held spontaneous protests in many spots across the state.
The Secondary Grade School Teachers Association (SSTA) gave a call for an indefinite hunger strike and sat on protest from September 28 for permanent jobs and to bridge wage discrepancy.
The teachers appointed on and after June 1, 2009 are paid Rs 3,170 less than those appointed till May 31, 2009 and the SSTA claimed that over 20,000 teachers were affected by this.
Solidarity protests by school teachers in Tiruvannamalai.
The teachers brazed the scorching heat and evening rains and sat on protest. Many of them, around 70, fainted during the protest and were taken to the hospital due to deterioration of their health, according to their colleagues.
Claiming that permission to hold a protest at the DPI Campus in Nungambakkam was provided only for seven days, the police removed teachers from the protest site.
J Robert, general secretary of SSTA, said “that is baseless. Permission is never given to protests beyond eight hours. That cannot be a reason for removing us. We do not need permission to protest.”
Speaking to the media on Wednesday night, the school education minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi promised each part-time teacher medical insurance worth Rs 10 lakh and pay-hike of Rs 2,500. The teachers are currently drawing Rs 10,000 monthly pay. Unsatisfied with the deal, teachers continued their protest.
Representatives of the protesting teachers’ unions said they had six rounds of talks with officials of the school education department over the past week, but their demands were not met.
Chief Minister M K Stalin also held a consultation with minister Poiyamozhi and senior officials of the school education department in this regard.
Following the meeting, minister Poyyamozhi announced the pay hike and medical insurance. He also said a three-member committee will be formed to examine the demand for equal pay for equal work. He said that the committee would study and submit a report in three months.
DISAPPOINTED WITH CM
The protesting teachers shared a 2019 tweet by Stalin, when he was the leader of opposition in the state, which reads “It is the heights of brutality to deploy police overnight and arrest office bearers of government employees’ and teachers’ unions who are raising pertinent demands.”
Attacking the then chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, it further read “Why is the chief minister hesitant to invite them and hold talks.” Notably, the protesting teachers have urged Stalin to hold talks with them, but it has not been fruitful.
Teachers light candles in protest on Gandhi Jayanti on Oct 2.
Meanwhile, the teachers’ union said that the protest would continue as they are not satisfied with the government’s action. “The protest will resume at 10:30 a.m on Friday at the gate of the DPI campus” said Robert.
There are 10,359 part-time teachers working for more than 10 years. They cleared their Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) in 2013 and were appointed for Rs 5,000/month.
Image courtesy: SSTA
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.