West Bengal: Will intensify stir if demands not met, say para teachers

Para teachers stage a protest in Salt Lake, Tuesday. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

Members of Para Teachers’ Aikya Mancha warned the state government on Tuesday saying they would intensify their protest if their demands were not met by Wednesday. Their demands included permanent teacher’s status, better pay scale, provident fund and one-time compensation as well as employment of one family member in case of an employee’s death.

According to the para teachers’ organisation, the protesters were abiding by the high court order during their agitation. Earlier, the high court had directed that protesters could not agitate within 100 metres of Bikash Bhawan and more than 300 agitators cannot gather at the same place. So, some para teachers started their dharna 100 metres away from Bikash Bhavan in Salt Lake from Monday, while some others were demonstrating near the B C Roy statue.

Para teachers’ organisation leader Bhagirath Ghosh said, “We are following the high court guidelines and are agitating peacefully to press for our demands. We thought of sending a letter to the state government today, but then decided to wait till tomorrow. If need be, we will think of a bigger movement.”

On Monday, state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said, “The para teachers can compare their present condition with that during the previous government’s regime. I urge them to get back to work. If they continue to avoid classes for a week, the law will take its own course.”

However, the protesters dismissed Chatterjee’s warning. “The government can do whatever it can, but we will stick to our movement.”

Another leader of the para teachers’ organisation, Madhumita Banerjee, said: “We are sitting here as per high court order. We will intensify our protest as well as move the high court again.”

One of the top leaders of the organisation said, “We will wait till tomorrow. After that we will spread our movement across the entire state and may also start fasting in front of Bikash Bhavan.”

A couple of months ago, primary teachers had protested to press for their demands. After 24 days of fasting, their demands were fulfilled.