A teacher aspirant at the huger strike with her baby. Photo courtesy: NewsClick
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Kolkata: The wait-listed teacher aspirants, who are on a relay hunger strike in Kolkata since 28 February demanding early recruitment, have now decided to go for a fast-unto-death.

According to Arpita Das, one of the 450-odd aspirants leading the hunger strike, said that they have taken the decision as the state government has not responded positively even after 12 days.

“One of our fellow girls, hailing from North 24-Parganas, who was two months pregnant, has suffered a miscarriage in the course of the relay hunger strike. Altogether 44 from amongst us have been taken ill and yet the government isn’t responding.”

“Hence, we have decided to go for a fast-unto-death from Tuesday (12 March). We have been dying every day for the last two years. Now, instead of us returning home empty hand, our dead bodies will rather go home,” Das said.

The agitators, most of whom had appeared for the secondary and higher secondary (X-XII) teacher eligibility test in 2016 and had qualified, are holding the hunger-strike by the road in front of Kolkata Press Club.

This with the hope that their cause and agitation will get better coverage in news media and thus, the state government will pay heed.

But with the agitation getting prolonged and the Lok Sabha polls announced, the agitation is getting scant coverage in Kolkata newspapers and TV channels by every passing day.

State education minister Partha Chatterjee, who had met a delegation of the agitators last week, had told reporters at Nabanna on 7 March that with the elections round the corner, the government could do very little now.

“I called on them at the agitation venue and also heard them in my chamber. I told them that the government will do everything possible for them and that they should call off the hunger-strike at once. But I now feel that there is a political motive behind their continuing the agitation,” Chatterjee had said.

The minister has pleaded that the delay in recruiting the wait-listed teacher aspirants is due to the LITIGATION that are pending in the High Court.

The agitators, on the other hand, have alleged that there is hardly any transparency in the merit list that the state School Service Commission has prepared.

They also maintain that SSC had empanelled comparatively higher number of candidates than the prescribed 1:1.4 ration and this has pushed many deserving candidates to the waitlist.