Kolkata: The police today carried out an indiscriminate lathi-charge in Kolkata on a group of agitating contractual computer teachers of state-run schools.
This is when some 2,000-odd contractual teachers were holding a demonstration at Minto Park in central Kolkata demanding a hike in pay.
Several contractual teachers have suffered hospitable injuries in the lathi-charge, while the police have detained six agitators for holding the demonstration without prior permission.
According to the demonstrators, some 6,500 youths have been hired since 2003 to impart computer education to students in state-run schools all over Bengal.
Although the Centre provides funds for this under its Information Communication Technology (ICT) project, Bengal government owned West Bengal Electronics Industry Development Corporation Limited (WEBEL) happens to be the implementing agency.
WEBEL, in turn, has outsourced the task to three private firms that supervise the entire thing and disburses funds to the schools for the upkeep of computers and payment of salaries to the contractual teachers.
One of the firms, ILFS, has its administrative office in a multi-storied building at Minto Park.
The contractual teachers claimed that they recently came across a communique from the Centre stating that Rs 3.5-lakh is released for each school under the ICT project.
But the schools are allegedly receiving only Rs 1-lakh and hence, paying the teachers only Rs 4,500 every 52 days.
To press for a hike in pay, some 2,000-odd of them resorted to a sit-in demonstration in front of the building where the ILFS office is located. The demonstration started around 10 am and the participant demanded a meeting with ILFS officials.
But as a meeting was denied, the agitators tried to foray into the building. By then a large posse of police personnel had cordoned off the building.
Around 3.30 pm, unable to disperse the agitating teachers through persuasion, the police suddenly resorted to an indiscriminate lathi-charge. This made the agitators, a vast section of them young women, to run for cover.
The lathi-charge left several of them injured and they had to be taken to SSKM Hospital for treatment. Police, on the other hand, detained six female teachers and took them to Lalbazar.
Protesting the police action, a section of the contractual teachers has now started a sit-in near education minister Partha Chatterjee’s residence at Naktala in south Kolkata. They have announced that until the government announces a pay hike, the sit-in will continue.