Majid Kapra

SSA teachers protest; police act; several injured

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Tarigami, Congress denounce govt for using force on teachers

Srinagar, May 14: At least a dozen people were injured when police used batons and water cannons to disperse a group of teachers who were protesting against the non-payment of their salaries at the Maulana Azad road here today.

The teachers, engaged under centrally-sponsored scheme Sarva Shikshya Abhiyaan (SSA), had assembled at Pratap Park on the Maulana Azad road here to protest against the non-payment of their wages for more than six months and seeking regularization. The protestors had also planned to picket (‘gherao’) the Secretariat here to press for their demands.

The police asked the protesters to disperse but the teachers refused, following which cops used force against them.

Police fired pepper-smoke canisters and used water cannons to disperse the protesting teachers as they tried to march towards the Civil Secretariat.

At-least a dozen protesters were injured and dozens including their president Nisar Ahmad Rather detained.

Traffic on busy Residency and Moulana Azad roads was also affected in the wake of police action.

The protesting teachers while condemning police action said that the government instead of fulfilling their demands flexed its muscles on them when they were seeking salary of past six months.

“This is too much… what makes the government to use power on us… had we carried stones in our hands or resorted to any violence? We will not remain silent nor will we allow government to deprive us of our rights,” a protestor added.

They threatened strike in case their demands are not met. “We will go for protracted strike and lockdown all schools in case the government does not take our demands seriously,” they warned.

Meanwhile, condemning the use of force on SSA teachers, CPI (M) leader and MLA Kulgam Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami rued that “this government’s answer to every issue is to use force”.

In a statement here, Tarigami termed the police action against protesting SSA teachers as unjustifiable, and called for an immediate end to such “bullying tactics” adopted by the government.

“Instead of giving an ear to the problems of its employees, government believes that use of force is the answer to all problems,” Tarigami said.

Strongly condemning the use of force on SSA teachers, State Congress said the State government was “insensitive to the genuine demands of the teachers, who are facing hardships due to the indifferent attitude of the government.”

In a statement issued here, the Congress spokesperson said the ruling PDP-BJP dispensation has miserably failed to resolve the problems confronting teachers, which is going to have serious implications on Education sector.

“The demand of the teachers is quite genuine and deserves to be addressed, but this is highly unfortunate that they were being responded with lathies,” he added and emphasized that government must release salaries of SSA teachers to ensure that they can be able to sustain their families.

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