Bengal Guv calls for dialogue over para-teachers' stir, TMC MPdenies death

(Incorporating additional details) Kolkata, Nov 22 (PTI) With the indefinite fast bypara-teachers in West Bengal to press for a hike in theirsalaries entering its eighth day on Friday, Governor JagdeepDhankhar appealed to all sides concerned to initiate adialogue for resolving the issue.

Over 1,000 para-teachers, who are contractual teachersin government-run schools, are on a sit-in since November 11.

At least 37 of the protesting teachers are on anindefinite fast from November 15 and about 10 of them havefallen sick, the organisation which is spearheading the para-teachers' movement said.

'@MamataOfficial. I appeal (to) all sides for dialogueat the highest level as over 1000 para-teachers are on asit-in since November 11 and 37 of them are on an indefinitefast from Friday,' he tweeted.

Referring to the death of para-teacher Revati Raut inWest Midnapore district, Dhankhar tweeted, 'Reported death ofRevati Raut, in West Midnapore and illness of othersworrisome.' Raut, a middle-aged para-teacher who had takenpart in the demonstration by para-teachers here for severaldays, died at her residence at Debra in West Midnapore onThursday, Bhagirath Ghosh, co-convenor of the 'Para-TeacherOikyo Manch' which is spearheading the movement, said.

TMC Lok Sabha party leader Sudip Bandopadhyay deniedthat a para-teacher has died and claimed it as 'a falsepropaganda by BJP'.

'It is a false propaganda by BJP to malign our stategovernment. Not a single para-teacher has died. The stategovernment has taken care of their needs and demands. TheBJP is only trying to score political brownie points,'Bandopadhyay said.

BJP national general secretary and Bengal minderKailash Vijayvargiya said the authoritarian Mamata Banerjeegovernment is so arraogant that it has failed to listen to thepleas of the para-teachers.

'A para-teacher has died, thousands of para-teachersare on strike. But the Mamata Banerjee government iscompletely silent on the issue. Shame on it,' Vijayvargiyasaid.

Meanwhile, Lok Sabha witnessed heated argumentsbetween treasury and opposition benches on Friday when rulingBJP MPs from West Bengal raised the issue of the strike bypara-teachers in the state.

As soon as BJP MP Locket Chatterjee started speakingon the issue, TMC members rushed towards the well of the Houseand said she was misguiding it.

Ghosh said there has been no word from the stategovernment about ways to address their demands for hike insalary and pay parity with Group D employees.

Para-teachers at primary schools and high schools arepaid a monthly salary of Rs 10,000 and Rs 13,000 respectively,which should be raised to Rs 22,000-25,000, he added.

State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee had earliersaid the para-teachers should come for talks with thegovernment.

Police had resorted to lathi-charge on agitatingpara-teachers at Kalyani in Nadia district in August injuringseveral of them.

Following this, 10 personalities of the state,including filmmaker Aparna Sen had written an open letter toWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urging her toresolve the agitation in a democratic manner. PTI SUS ACDKK KK