Thousands of Tripura government school teachers, who had lost their jobs following court verdicts, are braving cold weather to carry on with their indefinite sit-in, which entered its 36th day on Monday, while the state government is yet to hold any talks with them.
The agitating teachers, who launched their sit-in in Agartala on December 7, have rejected the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government’s appeal to apply for the vacant posts in different departments for which notifications were recently issued.
Of the 10,323 retrenched government teachers, 81 of them died from various reasons including illness and three of them, including a woman, have committed suicide since Saturday.
Small kids, children and family elders of the agitating teachers occasionally took part in the agitation, spearheaded by the Joint Movement Committee (JMC).
Both Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and Education and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath have on a number of occasions urged the agitated teachers to compete for around 9,000 vacant posts in various departments, including the Education Department, for which the state government recently issued recruitment notifications.
Accusing the previous Left Front government for the teachers’ plight, Nath told the media on Monday that the government cannot provide jobs to any one without carrying out interviews and other formalities. “The Supreme Court has relaxed the stipulated age limit for government jobs for these teachers – they should avail the opportunity,” he said.
Former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who is now the opposition leader, told the media that after the Tripura HC 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 that the BJP leaders, before the 2018 Assembly polls, promised to regularise their jobs if they come to power, but nothing has been done by them for these teachers.
On the government’s offer of jobs, JMC’s Joint Convener Dalia Das said the teachers already completed their government service for seven to ten years and several of them crossed their stipulated age limit while the state government’s offer is “unreasonable” and against the interest of the teachers.
She said that they had suspended their agitation earlier after the Chief Minister on October 3 assured to take steps to resolve their genuine problems permanently within two months. “After waiting more than two months, we resumed our sit-in stir on December 7 while the state government yet to take any step.”