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Tower protest by jobless men: At 100 feet, 11 cold nights and counting

It has been 11 days since they started their protest atop a 100-foot mobile tower in the heart of the city

punjab Updated: Nov 15, 2016 18:04 IST
Monica Sharma
Monica Sharma
Hindustan Times
tower protest,teacchers,mobile
The protesting youths in Sector 3, Chandigarh. (HT Photo)

It has been 11 days since they started their protest atop a 100-foot mobile tower in the heart of the city.

The two aspiring teachers — Rakesh Kumar (29) from Gurdaspur and Deepak Kumar (35) from Fazilka district — have passed the elementary teacher training (ETT) and teacher eligibility test (TET) and are demanding government jobs. They are demanding audience with Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and refuse to come down unless they get job letters from the state government.

They are members of the Unemployed Teachers’ Union of Punjab.

Surviving on dry fruits, biscuits and water while answering the nature’s call from atop the tower, going by their claims, the duo is carrying power banks for charging their mobile phones.

The two climbed the tower, located near Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s official residence in Sector 3, in the wee hours of November 3 despite the area has significant security presence. They have been lying on a maintenance platform with two blankets and a bottle of petrol.

Police on Monday sent them a message that a doctor will carry out their medical check-up, but the two refused.

Talking to HT, Rakesh said,” We had climbed up the tower on November 3, and two days after that the cops had allowed the union members to supply

us food and water in the evening. After that we have not got any food.”

“We answer nature’s call from atop the tower at night. We are carrying one phone that does not require charging for a week as it does not have any applications. For the second, we have power banks,” he said.

“We are not blackmailing anyone but just want our right. It is a democratic country and protest is our right.”

Two fire tenders and ambulances have been deployed at the spot.Area station house officer (SHO) Poonam Dilawari said,” We tried many times to convince them, but to no avail. We are unable to send anyone fearing the two may self-immolate or jump down.” They are in contact with their families over phone and have been sending their selfies to the union and the media.

Rakesh said, “Punjab government officials have been dodging our union members and are not meeting them even after calling them. It is a do-or-die situation and we will not budge unless our demand is met.”

Even as the two claim that they are answering nature’s call from atop the tower, police say no discharge has been found beneath. It is possibile that they come down in the wee hours to answer nature’s call, the police said.

First Published: Nov 15, 2016 14:48 IST