In a bid to save their jobs, 10,323 Tripura government school teachers, who are set to lose their jobs on December 31 following a Supreme Court verdict, launched an agitation from Friday.Around 150 teachers on Friday started a blockade of the national highway and the lone railway line for an indefinite period at Sindhukumar Para in northern Tripura's Dhalai district."We will continue our road and rail blockade until our jobs are confirmed by the government. We know the people of Tripura will face hardships due to these blockades, but we are also helpless," the agitating teachers' spokesman Uttam Kumar Dey told IANS over phone from the blockade site.A large number of police and Tripura State Rifles personnel have been deployed in the blockade areas. Many vehicles and some trains carrying passengers and goods remain stranded at these locations.The agitating teachers are, however, divided over blocking movement on the national highway and the lone railway line, as a majority of them feel this would cause immense problems and inconvenience the people of the state.On Thursday, around 1,000 teachers held a demonstration in front of the state secretariat and later met Education and Law minister Tapan Chakraborty, demanding a halt to the termination of their jobs.
Chakraborty, during the 90-minute meeting, told the delegation that the state government had filed a petition before the Supreme Court, urging it to extend the termination deadline for one more year."The government is sympathetic towards the agony of these government teachers. We are exploring various legal options and considering suggestions of the legal experts including senior lawyers of the apex court to save the jobs of these teachers," Chakraborty told IANS on Friday.He said the Supreme Court will hear the state government's plea on December 11."As suggested by some opposition legislators, there is no question of convening a special session of the Tripura Assembly to enact any law to protect the services of the 10,323 teachers since, according to legal experts, it would constitute contempt of the Supreme Court," the minister said.A spokesman of the agitating teachers said they were not sure that the Supreme Court would issue a favourable order in response to the state government's petition, and therefore, they would intensify their agitation.The Supreme Court in an order on March 29 had upheld the Tripura High Court verdict, terminating the jobs of 10,323 government teachers citing some indiscretion.In an apparent move to circumvent the apex court order, the Tripura government in May announced the recruitment of 12,000 non-teaching staff in the Education Department. This was to ostensibly "accommodate" the 10,323 teachers facing the axe following the court verdict.
On October 24, a division bench of the Supreme Court, however, ordered that the ban enforced on October 4 on recruitment of 12,000 non-teaching staff would remain in force until the next hearing.An unemployed youth from Tripura had filed a contempt petition before the Supreme Court, alleging that the state government had violated its order by trying to redesignate the posts of sacked teachers as well as by initiating the process to hire 12,000 non-teaching employees.