Teachers brave chill to keep struggle going
The Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) teachers, who have used the cover of fog as their weapon against the state government, are now fighting the same foggy weather and cold conditions.punjab Updated: Feb 04, 2014 10:44 IST
The Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) teachers, who have used the cover of fog as their weapon against the state government, are now fighting the same foggy weather and cold conditions.
Employment Guarantee Scheme teachers on a water tank in Bathinda on Monday. It was on 2.30am on Saturday when the action committee of EGS teachers decided to climb a water tank near Gol Diggi market of the city.
Braving cold winds, the protesters are on the water tank for the past two days.
On the HT team’s request to meet the protesting EGS teachers, the action committee members opened the lock of stairs that lead to the top.
When asked how do they manage during the night, one of the 11 protesting teachers, Mandeep Kaur, who hails from Faridkot, said, “Government humiliates us every day and if we die fighting for our rights we will be happy. Our goal is clear and even inclement weather cannot stop us.”
“Out of five protesting girls, two are suffering from severe headache and cold. No doctor has arrived to check the condition of these girls,” she added.
The protest by EGS teachers was foiled a few days back. Detailing about that protest, Kulbir Singh, who is on a hunger strike, said, “A few days back there was an attempt to foil our protest with a mutual conspiracy of villagers and police. We were lathicharged and even water cannons were used on us in chilly weather. They can suppress our voice but not our spirit.”
On how they manage for food, Ranjit Kaur from Fazilka, said, “People of the city are helping our teachers and providing us with food. We eat once a day because we don’t go downstairs.”
“Earlier, the DC gave us a written assurance of an arranging meeting with deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on January 30 but all in vain. Now again, we have received an appeal from the DC to end our protest on the plea that he will arrange a meeting with the deputy CM, but we can’t trust him this time,” said Ranjit Kaur.
“No member of the ruling party has tried to contact us. People’s Party of Punjab president Manpreet Badal and former Congress MLA Har minder Singh Jassi has approached us to know about our demands,” said a protester, Birbal Singh.
Asked how they are coping with cold, he responded positively, “We have a few blankets. Though we have a tough time during the night, chilly winds cannot deter us from pursuing our goal. ”
Meanwhile, family members of Makhan Kaur, an EGS teacher who died at her home in Mansa on Sunday night, also reached the dharna site on Monday evening. There are reports that Makhan Kaur was suffering from a heart disease.