The district education officers (DEOs) of Punjab are under pressure to hold rallies in support of their scam-tainted minister.
After taking verbal orders, the DEOs have called school heads and teachers to these programmes. Absentee teachers should be ready for a harsh lesson. The first rally will be in Ludhiana district on Monday (June 3).
The school heads and teachers have instructions to meet at Government In-Service Teachers Training Centre (GISTC) here, march up to the mini secretariat, and submit a memorandum to deputy commissioner Rahul Tewari that state education minister Sikander Singh Maluka was not involved in the library-book, science-kit, or map-guide scams in which his department had awarded huge contracts to non-existing companies.
Teachers have confirmed receiving the orders on telephone. "I was asked to join the rally on June 3 but I declined, as summer break is on," one of the government-school principals said on the condition of anonymity, "and why should I go out to support the education minister. If he has done no wrong, why does he need support?"
A mathematics teacher who also wished not to be named was shocked to get the message from the school principal. "She wants all teachers present at the rally, as attendance will be marked. 'Absentees beware,' she said," stated the teacher.
DEO (secondary) Paramjit Kaur Chahal denied giving any instruction of this sort to any school head or teacher. "It's summer break for the schoolteachers as well as heads. I have no idea which rally is to be held on Monday in Ludhiana district," said the DEO.