‘Tonsure’ protests by teachers spread in MP, Congress says govt. is deaf
A protest by contractual teachers in Bhopal who tonsured their heads to press their demand for regularisng their services has spread to other places in Madhya Pradesh such as Gwalior and Sagar.
The protests have given the opposition Congress a stick to beat the government. The party took out a march on Monday in the state capital in support of the teachers and many of its workers also tonsured their heads in solidarity with the agitating tutors.
The teachers serving on contract basis in primary schools have been demanding the merger of their services with that of teachers on the roll in the state and payment to them as per the 7th pay commission.
On Saturday agitating teachers had assembled at BHEL Jamboorie ground in Bhopal and many of them including four women tonsured their heads in protest.
A day later on Sunday, five students of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan in Bhopal also tonsured their heads in solidarity with the teachers. On the same day in Sagar district ten teachers tonsured their heads and shouted slogans against the state government.
Manoj Nema who among those who tonsured their heads in Sagar said they were appointed in 1995 but so far they have not been absorbed in the education department.
“We don’t know under which department we have been placed. We want that our services be brought on the rolls of the education department. We are not entitled to get any benefit that regular government employee gets,” he said.
Nema said they were suffering despite working like other employees. “One of our fellow teachers died of cancer as he couldn’t afford the costly treatment. Another teacher had to mortgage his house for treatment of his ailing wife. If the state government is facing shortage of teachers, why can’t they absorb us in the education department? We are well qualified with many years of experience,” he said.
In Gwalior, teachers assembled at the station road on Sunday and staged a demonstration. Nearly half a dozen teachers tonsured their heads in protest.
Congress’s chief spokesperson KK Mishra alleged that apathy of the state government had reached such an extent that even married lady teachers had to tonsure their heads to register their protest and angst. “This is not our tradition. Such protests will happen more in the coming days as this government is turning a deaf ear to the demands,” he said.
Congress leader PC Sharma said the party took out the march on Monday from Roshanpura crossing to governor’s residence where they submitted a memorandum of demands.
“We urged the governor to press upon the state government to accept the demands of the agitating teachers who have been working like other teachers for years,” said Sharma who led the march.
Despite repeated attempts, education minister Vijay Shah was not available for comment. His deputy Deepak Joshi said the demand of the agitating teachers was related to a policy matter on which he could not comment.