Several persons, including women teachers, sustained injuries after members of the Haryana Guest Teachers’ Association (HGTA) clashed with the police here on Sunday evening.
The injured were taken to Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College and other private hospitals in the city. There is no confirmation of anyone sustaining serious injuries in the clash.
Superintendent of police (SP) Abhishek Garg told reporters that a large number of protesters, including HGTA president Rajinder Sharma Shastri, were arrested for rioting and attacking the police.
Demanding regularisation of jobs, members of the HGTA were on an indefinite dharna since May 8 at Sector 12 in Karnal, the home constituency of chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
The clash erupted when hundreds of guest teachers tried to gherao the canal rest house on the Mall Road, the designated camp office of the CM.
According to reports, the protesters and the police threw stones at each other. However, the incident exposed the ill-preparedness of the local police authorities.
The district administration had prohibited protest marches beyond Gandhi Chowk, but the guest teachers managed to cross the prohibited zone.
As the protesting teachers marched towards the rest house on the Virk Hospital-Karnal Club road, they were stopped by the police near the bus stand. The police also resorted to canecharge. However, eyewitnesses claim that when the protesters were stopped by the police, some persons started pelting the cops with stones. The police had to use water cannons to disperse the mob.
The teachers alleged that they were taking out a peaceful procession, but the police used force. A larger number of anti-riot squads and the woman police officials were engaged in the operation.
Women teachers alleged that they were beaten up by the cops. Sources said that a number of cops also sustained injuries. The police also uprooted tents erected by the protesting teachers in Sector 12.
Teachers indulged in violence: DC
Karnal deputy commissioner J Ganesan blamed the Haryana Guest Teachers’ Association for indulging in violence and violating rules. He said the association leaders were advised several times to take legal recourse for their grievances as the state government’s decision to remove 4,073 guest teachers was initiated on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana high court.
“The association did not have the permission to use the public land for agitation. It was advised to act in accordance to public interest, but on Sunday the protesters decided to march towards the prohibited zone and indulged in violence,” said the DC, adding that several cops sustained injuries as the teachers pelted them with stones.