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Tripura teachers’ sit-in protest enters 50th day, 84 died of numerous causes

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Agartala, Jan 25 (IANS) With one more teacher breathing his last on Monday, the number of deaths due to numerous reasons rose to 84 as the indefinite sit-in by thousands of Tripura government school teachers, who had lost their jobs following court verdicts, entered its 50th day on Monday, even though the state government is yet to hold any talks with them.

According to the police, Ajit Sutradhar (55), one of the 10,323 retrenched government teachers, died on Monday following a massive cardiac arrest.

Braving the cold weather, men and women teachers continued their indefinite sit-in in Agartala since beginning the protest on December 7 last year, demanding restoration of their jobs.

The agitating teachers from undergraduate to postgraduate level have rejected the BJP-led government’s appeal to apply afresh for the vacant posts in different departments for which separate notifications were issued at the end of last year.

Dalia Das, joint convener of the Joint Movement Committee (JMC), which is spearheading the stir since last year, said that of the 10,323 retrenched government teachers, 84 persons died due to various reasons including illness and three persons who committed suicide.

“Many out of the 10,323 teachers after losing their jobs fell sick due to depression and economic paucity and 84 of them died. The family members of all the retrenched teachers are in great distress, especially of those who have dies,” she said.

Small kids, children and family elders of the agitating teachers occasionally take part in the round the clock sit-in.

Both Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Education and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath have on a number of occasions rquested the agitating teachers to compete for around 9,000 vacant posts in various departments, including the Education Department, for which the state government issued recruitment notifications.

Nath repeatedly accused the previous Left Front government for the teachers’ plight and told the media that the government cannot provide jobs to any one without following the stipulated formalities, including conducting interviews.

“The Supreme Court had relaxed the stipulated age limit for government jobs for these teachers – they should avail the scope,” he said.

Former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who is now the opposition leader, told the media that after the Tripura High Court and the Supreme Court had terminated the jobs of 10,323 government teachers in 2011, 2014 and 2017, the then Left Front government had created 13,000 posts to accommodate these teachers alternatively.

He said the BJP leaders before the 2018 Assembly polls had promised to regularise their jobs if they came to power, but nothing has been done by them for these teachers.

Sarkar, who’s also a politburo member of the CPI-M, recently led separate delegations of Left MLAs to Governor Ramesh Bais and the Chief Minister and requested them to take suitable steps for the teachers’ reinstatement.

On the government’s offer of jobs, Das said the teachers have already completed their government service for seven to 10 years and several of them crossed their stipulated age limit and the state government’s offer is “unreasonable” and against the interest of the teachers.

She said the protesters had suspended their agitation earlier after the Chief Minister on October 3 last year assured to take steps to resolve their problems permanently within two months.

“After waiting for more than two months, we resumed our sit-in stir on December 7 but the state government is yet to take any step. We would soon intensify our agitation,” Das said.

The state government had earlier given a lump-sum financial aid of Rs 35,000 each to 8,882 government school teachers, who lost their jobs on March 31 last year, as the courts in their verdicts had cited “discrepancies in recruitments”.

Of the 10,323 former government teachers, 1,357 people got alternative jobs and availed different income avenues while 84 teachers died with three of them committing suicide.




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