Protesting teachers clash with cops in Patiala, stage dharna

PATIALA: A scuffle broke out between protesting teachers and cops near YPS roundabout here today.

editorial@tribune.com

Karam Prakash
Tribune News Service
Patiala, January 13

A scuffle broke out between protesting teachers and cops near YPS roundabout here today. The police were trying to stop teachers from marching towards CM’s residence. When the protesters tried to scale the barricades, the cops managed to stop them for a while, but a clash broke out. The police had to use mild force on the protesters numbering around 300.

Hardeep Toderpur, state co-convener, Sanjha Adhyapak Morcha, alleged that the policemen roughed them up. “The police misbehaved and used force against us. The response of the police was uncalled for since it was a peaceful protest on the occasion of Lohri,” he said.

The teachers somehow managed to break into the security cover and reached near the CM’s residence. During their protest, hundreds of SSA/RMSA teachers, who have been without salaries for the last eight months, asked for Lohri from Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. In the presence of a heavy police force, they lit a bonfire and staged a dharna near the CM’s residence.

Female teachers sang traditional Lohri songs and raised slogans against Education Minister OP Soni for “victimising the SSA/RMSA teachers, who didn’t opt for regularisation at a monthly salary of Rs 15,300”.

Atinder Pal, a teacher, said, “Like Dussehra, Diwali and New year, we couldn’t celebrate Lohri since the state government has stopped paying salaries to the SSA/RMSA teachers for not accepting their (government) offer. As per the tradition of Lohri, we are asking our salaries in Lohri from the CM.”

Meeting with CM promised

Late in the evening, the teachers were assured of a meeting with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Balwinder Attri, an official deputed at the CM’s residence, said: “By Monday afternoon, I will inform you about the meeting schedule. If possible, the CM will meet you tomorrow.”

In Sangrur, teachers protested near the residence of Cabinet Minister Vijay Inder Singla on Sunday.

Agitating teachers burnt the effigy of the Punjab government against its alleged tactics to pressurise teachers to accept regular jobs on basic salary. BKU Ugrahan leaders also participated in the protest.

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