Proposed meeting between Punjab CM Amarinder Singh, protesting teachers cancelled
"We will raise slogans against the Punjab government throughout the state on Diwali," said SAM state committee member Bikramjit Singh
The meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and protesting teachers, scheduled to take place here Monday, was cancelled after the agitators failed to call of the stir, officials said Sunday. Following the state government's decision, the teachers, demanding that their jobs be regularised without a pay cut, decided to observe 'Black Diwali' and intensify their protest against the Congress regime in the state.
"It was understood that the teachers would first call off their protest and only then will the meeting take place. Since they have not done so, it (meeting) was cancelled," a government official said. The teachers, under the banner of Sanjha Adhyapak Morcha (SAM), have been staging a sit-in in Patiala, the chief minister's constituency, in support of their demands since October 7. The teachers are against the state government's decision to fix their monthly salary at Rs 15,000 during probation period for regularisation of their jobs. At present, contractual teachers are getting Rs 42,300 per month.
On October 23, the protesters were assured of a meeting with the CM following their interaction with Punjab's Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar and Officer on Special Duty Sandeep Sandhu. However, the teachers continued their agitation after meeting the two key officials. Meanwhile, the protesters on Sunday gave a memorandum to several cabinet ministers at their residences urging them to accept their demands and also announced that they would observe 'Black Diwali' on November 7. "We will raise slogans against the Punjab government throughout the state on Diwali," said SAM state committee member Bikramjit Singh.
The teachers had earlier burnt the effigy of the state government on Dussehra, while on Karwa Chauth, a group of women teachers in Patiala had got "Punjab Sarkar Murdabad" written on their hands with 'henna'. On October 3, the Punjab cabinet had given its go ahead to the regularisation of the services of 8,886 teachers recruited under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), as well as in adarsh and model schools. However, it said that the teachers whose services would be regularised in school education department would be paid Rs 15,000 for three years.
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