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Teachers called for talks on Friday; NGOs anguished at police action

Shillong, Oct 6: The education minister Lahkmen Rymbui has called the agitating teachers for talks on Friday.

This was informed to the Meghalaya Lower Primary Contractual Teachers’ Association ( MGLPCTA ) president by the East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner through an official letter on Thursday evening.

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Pressure groups condemn tear gas incident 

Chairman of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) Education Cell Raymond Kharjana  expressed  opposition to the ‘barbaric and inhumane acts’ committed by the police as well as the state government.

“They are mere teachers who are protesting in a peaceful manner. The question arises here is why there is a need to use excessive force for example firing of tear gas on these protesting teachers and there are also female teachers some of whom are also pregnant,” he said.

“It has also come to our knowledge that there were no female police personnel at the time when the rally was going on. So I would like to ask the government that which book of law has stated that a male police personnel can assault or can use excessive force on the protesting teachers especially pregnant women,” Kharjana said.

The KSU also demanded action against the police personnel especially the officers who gave  the order to use excessive force and tear gas.

The Hynniewtrep Youth Council has demanded the state government to institute an inquiry and take action against the magistrates and police personnel responsible for the firing of tear gas at the agitating contractual teachers during a peaceful march to the secretariat.

“We demand the state government to immediately institute an inquiry into the incident and ensure that action is taken against the magistrates and police personnel responsible for the firing of tear gases at the teachers,” HYC general secretary Roy Kupar Synrem said in a statement.

He said the incident was unwarranted in view of the fact that children and family members of the teachers were also present during the rally.

“The government should take full responsibility for the incident and ensure police are not allowed to use excessive force,” Synrem said.

The HYC also urged the Meghalaya High Court and Meghalaya State Human Rights Commission to take suo motu cognizance of the incident and take action against the magistrates and police for misusing their powers.

Leader of the Ka Sur U Bri U Hynniewtrep (KSUBH) Thomas Passah said that this is just another event of excessive force used by the police  while referring to findings of the inquiry report into the death of former HNLC leader Cherishtarfield Thangkhiew.

“In the strongest words, we condemn this act as we can see they are all women, some are pregnant, children are there and they are merely around 40-45 teachers and using of tear gas, lathi charge and foul language is just a violation of their human rights which is given to them by the Constitution of India,” he said.

Stating that the teachers have been protesting for the past 2-3 years, Passah said that the majority of these teachers have been working in rural parts of the state, where nobody wants to go.

He said qualification changes from time to time and after 10 years, not only MTET but recruitment of teachers may require another high level of qualification. However, these are teachers who have been serving for the past many years and it is not logical to club them in such qualifications, he said.

He cited that Assam government has adopted more of a humanitarian approach by conducting a special teachers’ eligibility test for the serving contractual teachers to ensure that their right to live and survive is not compromised.

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