Thousands of government school teachers in Tripura, who had earlier lost their jobs following court verdicts, began an indefinite sit-in demonstrations from Monday to reinstate their jobs. The leaders of the Joint Movement Committee (JMC), which is spearheading the agitation, announced that they would intensify their stir until the state government gives them written assurance about reinstating their jobs.
JMC’s Joint Convener Dalia Das said that they had suspended their agitation after Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on October 3 assured to take steps to solve their problems permanently within two months. “The two months have already lapsed, but the Chief Minister and his government have remained silent even when the teachers are suffering after losing their jobs in March this year,” Das told the media.
JMC’s another Joint Convener Bimal Saha said that thousands of teachers, including their family members, are facing serious hardships for the past nine months while 76 retrenched teachers have already died, with some committing suicide. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Tripura government had earlier given a lump-sum financial aid of Rs 35,000 to 8,882 government school teachers, who lost their jobs from March 31 following Supreme Court and Tripura High Court verdicts which cited “discrepancies in recruitment”.
Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath had earlier said that the residual numbers of teaching personnel of 8,882 among the 10,323 Tripura government’s former teachers would be absorbed in various departments against the vacant posts, but the steps have not been taken yet due to the court orders and other reasons. Nath, who also holds the law portfolio, told the media that the previous Left Front government did not follow the first orders of the Tripura High Court in 2011 causing the termination of 10,323 government teachers.
Opposition leader and former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told the media that after the Tripura High Court and the Supreme Court had terminated the jobs of the 10,323 government teachers in 2011, 2014 and 2017, the then Left Front government had created 13,000 posts to accommodate these teachers. “The BJP leaders before the 2018 Assembly polls conspired against these 10,323 government teachers and filed petitions before the Supreme Court and promised to regularise their jobs if they come to power. But nothing fruitful has been done so far for these hapless teachers,” said Sarkar, who was the Chief Minister for 20 years till the BJP-led government came to power in Tripura in March 2018.
The teachers 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 2011 and 2014 ordered for termination of services of all the 10,323 teachers, saying the selection criteria had “discrepancies”. Thereafter, acting on special leave petitions by the then Left Front government and a section of teachers, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court verdict on March 29, 2017. However, following an appeal, the apex court extended their services up to June last year.
After coming to power in the state in March 2018, 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.