Agartala, March 20 (IANS) The Tripura Assembly on Friday witnessed an unprecedented bedlam over the continuation of jobs of 10,323 Tripura government teachers, who are facing termination of jobs by March 31 due to the Supreme Court and High Court orders citing “discrepancies in recruitment”.
The pandemonium began soon after the presentation of the budget for 2020-21 by Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma on the first day of the week-long session.
The opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) members led by opposition leader and former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar stood on their feet after the speaker Rebati Mohan Das rejected an adjournment motion moved by opposition chief whip and former Education Minister Tapan Chakraborty.
After eight-minutes combined persuasion, all the 16 CPI-M legislators have rushed to the well of the house and started slogans demanding continuance of jobs of 10,323 Tripura government teachers and to protect the livelihood of their 50,000 family members.
As the ruckus continued, around 10 Bharatiya Janata Party lawmakers also rushed to the well of the house forcing the watch and ward staffs barricaded the two agitated groups.
When the speaker failed to control the turmoil for more than 20 minutes and the accusation and the counter- accusation continued between the ministers and legislators of treasury and opposition benches, the presiding officer adjourned the house suspending the question hour.
When the raucous scenes are going on inside the house, the agitating teachers in the capital city tried to march the state Assembly to meet the ministers and Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, but huge contingent of security personnel led by senior officials did not allowed them to proceed.
Later, opposition leader Manik Sarkar told the media that after the Supreme Court and the Tripura High Court terminated the jobs of the 10,323 government teachers in 2011, 2014 and 2017 respectively, the then Left Front government had created 13,000 posts to accommodate these teachers.
“The BJP leaders before the 2018 Assembly polls on one hand conspired against these 10,323 government teachers and filed petition with other people before the Supreme Court and finally on the other hand promised to regularise their jobs if they come to power.
Now the Chief Minister refused to meet the agitating teachers and his ministers and party leaders backtracked from their pre-poll promises,” said Sarkar, who was the Chief Minister for 20 years until 2018.
The Left leader said that when the government teachers are now agitating, the BJP led government used forces to subvert their voices and ignoring their most legitimate demand for continuation of their jobs for the survival of 50,000 people.
Amidst massive agitations by 10,323 Tripura government teachers to keep their jobs, the BJP state government on Thursday night announced to absorb the teachers in various state government departments.
Tripura Education and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath said that the residual numbers of teaching personnel among the 10,323 Tripura government teachers would be absorbed in various departments against the vacant posts of 10,618.
“Before appointing these teachers in non-teaching jobs in various departments, the state government would seek the permission of the Supreme Court as the apex court earlier cancelled their jobs,” the minister said after the meeting of the council of ministers headed by Deb.
Agitating teachers’ leader Bimal Saha said that they had organised many protest demonstrations in the past one year and finally launched an indefinite sit-in since Saturday, lamenting that no government representative had so far come to meet them to discuss the issue.
Another teacher union leader Dalia Das told the media that so far 50 teachers had died or committed suicide and the state government should provide jobs to family member of each of the deceased teachers.
They said that the BJP leaders from Tripura and outside had assured before the 2018 Assembly elections to protect their jobs in their “Vision Document” as well as during electoral campaign.
The 10,323 teachers holding graduate, postgraduate and under-graduate qualifications were inducted into the state government schools in different phases from 2010 when the CPI-M-led Left Front government was in power.
The Tripura High Court in 2014 ordered for termination of services of all 10,323 teachers, saying the selection criteria had “discrepancies”.
Thereafter, acting on a Special Leave Petitions by the then Left Front government and a section of teachers, the apex court upheld the High Court verdict on March 29, 2017. Following an appeal, the apex court extended their services up to June last year.
After coming to power in March last year, the BJP-led government filed another appeal in the Supreme Court in June 2019, with the court granting a one-time final extension in services till March 2020.