Around 900 teachers from degree colleges courted arrest on Tuesday to protest the state government’s lack of initiatives to resolve the indefinite strike.
Teachers from across the state assembled at the University of Mumbai’s Fort campus on the 29th day of the indefinite strike.
Citing a High Court order that stated demonstrations cannot be carried out in south Mumbai, teachers courted arrest outside the varsity gate.
Around 65 teachers were huddled in 14 police vans each and taken to the Azad Maidan police station. However, they were released after two hours.
Similar jail bharo andolan was conducted across 10 universities in Maharashtra to intensify the stir. In wake of the swine flu outbreak, teachers in Pune were not granted permission to carry on the agitation.
“The government apathy has forced us to be on strike. We are protesting against the education minister who has not been able to discharge his duties,” said C.R. Sadasivan, president, Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation.
Last week, the federation wrote to Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal asking them to intervene.
No date for the meeting has been fixed yet. “Our place is not on streets. Only the government can get teachers back to the classroom,” said Sadasivan.
While federation wants the government to implement the Sixth Pay Commission as per the recommendations of the University Grants Commission as a composite package, the government has agreed on certain components — basic pay scales and dearness allowance.
They are also demanding exemption of 10,000 teachers without National Eligibility Test and State Eligibility Test to be approved for promotions.
“If the composite package is accepted, 80 per cent funds will come from the central government,” said Neeraj Hatekar, economics professor.
“The state government has to cough only the remaining funds, which it is not willing to do. We are not making an illegal demand,” he added.