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West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee’s fiefdom crumbling as first doctors now teachers take to streets against state authorities

Around 10,000 SSK and MSK teachers had been agitating at Bidhan Nagar, Kolkata since March 1, protesting against the current government’s refusal to increase their honorariums since the past seven years.

Trouble seems to be mounting for West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, as first the state doctors and now the state teachers, have taken to the streets to protest against the authoritarianism under Mamata Banerjee’s regime.

Today, the Mayur Bhawan island in Bidhannagar/ Salt Lake area, a municipal corporation of North 24 Parganas district, Kolkata, turned into a battlefield as unnumbered teachers heading towards the State Education Minister’ office in Bikash Bhavan were interrupted by the Bidhannagar police. Ugly clashes ensued between the teachers and the state police.

The teachers broke barricades and charged at the police who were trying to stop them from proceeding towards Bikash Bhawan to meet the Partha Chatterjee, the Minister for Education and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs of the Government of West Bengal to demand a salary hike. The police, in turn, resorted to lathi charge in order to intimidate the mob.

Though few teachers have reportedly been injured in the onslaught, they managed to reach Bikash Bhawan, and currently are protesting and sloganeering in front of the building, demanding their requirement of a hike in salary, which was promised to them by Mamata Banerjee but not yet fulfilled, is met.

On April 3, 2019, 350 government school computer had agitated with the state police in Minto Park area in Kolkata. They were also there to demand higher pay when the cops wielded lathis at the agitators turning the protest into a violent one.

Over 30000 teachers employed in Shishu Shiksha Kendras (SSKs) and Madhyamik Shiksha Kendras (MSKs) had earlier on March 7, 2019, also blocked the road to Bikash Bhavan, the office of the Education Minister, West Bengal, demanding that their honorariums be increased.

Around 10,000 SSK and MSK teachers had been agitating at Bidhan Nagar, Kolkata since March 1, protesting against the current government’s refusal to increase their honorariums since the past seven years. All Bengal Teachers’ Association has extended their support to the protesting SSK and MSK teachers.

Rekha Das Giri, an SSK teacher, or ‘sahayika’, as they are called had then said, “I have been working as an SSK teacher since 2003. Back then, our honorarium was Rs 1,000. The Left Front government gradually hiked it to Rs 5,954 by 2010. Our dearness allowance was also increased every three years. But the Trinamool Congress government has even stopped paying us the DA.”

She had also stated that, seven years ago, during the Left Front government in the state, the honorarium for the SSK and MSK teachers was Rs 5,954 and Rs 8,854, respectively. The amount has remained the same since then.

The state government’s position in West Bengal under Mamata’ autocracy, seems to be crumbling as previously the doctors and now the teachers raise their voices of dissent against the state leadership.

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