Over a hundred primary teachers were arrested on Tuesday for blocking Dorina Crossing for half an hour, creating traffic congestion. Thousands of teachers have been protesting at Sahid Minar, demanding pay hike since on Monday.
On the second day of the protest, the teachers squatted at Dorina Crossing, chocking the main arterial road. Police, while removing the blockade, clashed with the protesters. Police personnel of Hare Street police station arrested 95 male and 11 female protesters from the spot and released them around 5 p.m.
Pritha Biswas, secretary of the Usthi United Primary Teachers’ Welfare Association (UUPTWA), was also arrested following the scuffle with the police.
She told The Statesman after being released on bail: “We wanted to have a dialogue with the concerned authority. We blocked the road while police came and arrested us. But we will carry on our protest and if needed, we will go for an indefinite hunger strike.”
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Opposition party leaders came forward to support the protest and shared the same dais. On Tuesday, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh visited the spot.
He said: “Police have arrested teachers in an unethical manner. The teachers are protesting for a right cause. We support their cause.”
General secretary of Forward Bloc Naren Chatterjee was also present there on Tuesday. Former state Congress president Adhir Choudhury and state CPI-M leader Sujan Chakraborty on Monday visited the protest site and spoke to the protesters, saying that they will stand by the protesters.
The state education minister, Mr Partha Chatterjee, on Monday alleged that the agitating primary teachers were being instigated by some political leaders.
He had said: “Instead of talking to the department, they are going for protest under the instigation of those who have nothing to do. They have formed a front and are acting against the government. The teachers should prove their eligibility in order to get the extra pay.”
As per government regulation, earlier, candidates had to pass Madhyamik examination as it was the minimum qualification required to become primary teachers and training was not mandatory till 2010.
But later, the government said that candidates must have 2-year D.El.Ed training along with 50 per cent marks in Higher Secondary examination. But according to the protesters, candidates are still getting salary as per the Madhyamik level pay scale.
The pay scale has not been revised. Teachers who had not passed Higher Secondary earlier, after the government circulation, took the examination as well as the two-year training.