As the doctors’ logjam ends, teachers start protesting over wage hike in Bengal

The week-long doctors’ agitation may have ended in Bengal, but another group is now up in arms against the Mamata Banerjee government. Teachers have now gone on protest in the state. The West Bengal education secretariat, popularly know as Bikash Bhavan, saw chaos on Monday with teachers protesting for a hike in wages.

The Salt Lake locality turned into a battleground as clashes took place between Shishu Shiksha Kendra (SSK) and Madhyamik Shiksha Kendra teachers and police officials at Mayukh Bhawan island. The clash led to the police lathicharging the protestors.

The teachers tried to reach Bikash Bhawan to meet the Bengal education minister and have their grievances heard. However, they were stopped by police at Mayukh Bhawan island. It was after this that the teacher’s protest became violent with police resorting to lathicharge.

School teachers in Bengal have been sitting on a dharna June 12, demanding for an increase in their salary according to their qualification. Their salaries have allegedly not been increased for the past eight years.

Earlier, the teachers had protested about a wage hike in March as well. They had sat on a dharna from March 1 to March 7. On March 7, they had met with West Bengal Governor and the state education minister.

On Monday, the Bidhan Nagar police took all the security measures to prevent the protest from escalating. since the beginning of their movement. The police had blocked roads but the protesting teachers broke all the barricades and marched towards Bikash Bhawan.

High ranking officials of Bidhan Nagar police reached the spot where the agitating teachers decided to conduct a sit-in protest.

While a few teachers fell unconscious due to the heat and were taken to a local hospital, other teachers continued their protest in front of Bikash Bhawan.

Speaking about the condition of schoolteachers in Bengal, Moidul Islam, the general secretary of the Teachers Unity Open Forum, said, “We are 70,000 teachers. For the past eight years, our salary has not been increased by a single rupee. SSK and MSK teachers get Rs 5,900 as salary. We have given a deputation to education minister several times. That’s why we have been sitting on a demonstration for the past six days. We will go to Bikash Bhawan. Our demand is to be given a salary according to our qualifications.”

According to reports, the teachers were told that their demands will be heard after the Lok Sabha election ends. However, no talks have allegedly been held on the matter.

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