Demanding withdrawal of FIR against 22 of their colleagues, the teachers working at non-government affiliated colleges of Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Batala, Gurdaspur and Pathankot stopped their work on Friday and held a protest march from DAV College to Jallianwala Bagh here.
An FIR was lodged in March 2011 under sections 452/341/425/506/ 148/149 of the IPC against the teachers agitating against the proposed conversion of Khalsa College, Amritsar, into a private university.
Among those booked are former Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers' Union (PCCTU) president H S Walia and two women teachers.
The teachers during the protest raised slogans against Daljit Singh, the principal of Khalsa College in Amritsar, S Satyajit Singh Majithia, president of the same college and honorary secretary S Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina besides the state government.
Addressing the rally, HS Walia said the teachers were booked to suppress the agitation launched by them against the proposed move.
The agitation was totally peaceful, democratic and was launched with the objective of protecting the interests of about 250 teachers and other employees of Khalsa College and also to safeguard the heritage importance of the college, he claimed.
Walia said an investigation should be initiated into the issue by an independent agency to find out the truth.
PCCTU vice-president Mukhwinder Singh lambasted the state government for registering the case against peaceful demonstrating teachers.
He added that the agitation will be intensified and a call for education bandh would be given after getting approval from the PCCTU office-bearers.
AAP representatives join protest march
The representatives of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) attended the rally and participated in the protest march. The representatives included district convener Ashok Talwar, member grievance cell Gurbush Arora, in-charge of student wing Vinod Kumar.
Ashok Talwar addressed the teachers and assured to extend full support to their cause.
Khalsa College principal Daljit Singh said since the call was given by some outsiders there was no effect of the two-period strike call on teaching schedule.
He further said the agreement between teachers and Khalsa College management, signed on June 16, 2011, has already been executed and there was no question of backtracking from it.
"Now the issue is pending in court of law. Walia himself has filed petition for quashing the FIR at the Punjab and Haryana high court. He is resorting to false propaganda against me and the management when the matter is sub-judice. It seems they have no faith in the judicial system of the country," said Daljit Singh.