Tripura: Peaceful sit-in of teachers disrupted; police use water cannons, tear gas

The teachers terminated due to irregularities in recruitment owing to former government,have been without a job since March 2020 and have had no respite from the ruling BJP government


The Tripura Police rained lathis and let out water cannons and tear gas shells upon teachers holding a dharna (sit-in protest), agitating against their termination by the government. A total of 10,323 teachers have been part of a sit-in protest for 52 days as their appointments were scrapped by Tripura High Court in 2014 due to irregularities in the recruitment process and lack of definite action from the government since March 2020.

The lathi charge and violent reaction to a peaceful sit-in was due to section 144 imposed in Agartala Municipal Corporation since early hours of January 27. At 5.30 AM, police personnel in combat gear were seen yanking protesters sleeping at the sit-in-demonstration venue, saying the area had to be vacated due to prohibitory orders, reported Indian Express. They reportedly detained over 300 teachers.

The order was upheld by the apex court in 2017 and after that, these teachers were recruited on an ad hoc basis which continued until March 2020 after which they were rendered jobless. The Chief Minister, Biplab Kumar Deb of BJP, assured to look into their problems within 2 months.

With definite action in place, three organisations of these sacked teachers — Justice for 10323, All Tripura Ad Hoc Teachers Association and Amra 10323 – came together to form a joint movement committee and announced an indefinite mass sit-in-demonstration.

Kamal Deb, an agitating teacher, told the Indian Express, “Protesting teachers were forcefully detained from the venue by state police and TSR jawans. They were taken to AD Nagar police grounds, many were taken to RK Nagar TSR battalion grounds. A lot of them complained of lack of sanitation and drinking water facilities on social media. Are we criminals? What’s the government afraid of?”

After the brute police action, several teachers reached the Chief Minister’s residence, and as the police tried to disperse them from there, water cannon and tear gas shells were fired, reportedly injuring 41 teachers.

“This is the most shameful and barbaric incident. Teachers’ clothes were torn by the police, food and other donations given to us at our protest venue were looted. The police acted like goons,” said Dalia Das, leader of the 10323 JMC body. CPIM leader, Bijan Dhar also condemned the police action and demanded the release of the detained teachers. State Congress vice-president Tapas Dey also denounced the police action and said that the BJP government had betrayed the teachers and are now acting out of political bankruptcy.



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