Patna, Oct 2 (IANS) Agitating contractual teachers in Bihar are up in arms against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for flatly rejecting their demands, and have marked their protest by taking out silent processions across the state.
Hundreds of contractual teachers, who Tuesday said the Bihar government has used "repressive measures" against them, took out silent processions to express their agitation Oct 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
"Contractual teachers have been targeted for holding peaceful protest against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during his 'Adhikar Yatra' (Rights March). They were arrested and suspended," Bihar Secondary School Teachers Association president Satrughan Prasad Singh said.
Singh said that contractual teachers would intensify their agitation this month to put pressure on the state government to fulfill the old demands.
Kedar Nath Singh, general secretary of the association, regretted denial of fixed salary for periods ranging between six and 22 months to contractual teachers.
"The state government is blaming contractual teachers for violence in Khagaria and Begusarai districts during Nitish Kumar's Adhikar Yatra," Kedar Nath Singh said.
"The fact is that a ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader, Ranvir Yadav, was fully responsible for it but no action has been taken against him so far," he added.
According to officials of the education department, the state government has identified 64 contractual teachers who created disturbances during the chief minister's 'Adhikar Yatra'.
"The show cause notices have been served to 52 of 64 contractual teachers who were found involved in large-scale violence and arson in Khagaria during Nitish Kumar's 'Adhikar Yatra'," Khagaria district magistrate Dharmendra Singh said.
In Begusarai, 12 contractual teachers have been booked for being absent from duty and causing road blockade during the yatra, said Begusarai district magistrate Manoj Kumar.
Education department Principal Secretary Amarjeet Sinha said action has been initiated against contractual teachers as per the provisions laid down in their recruitment policy.
Last month, the chief minister, unhappy over protests by contractual teachers, declared that their demands for parity of salaries with government teachers would not be met.
Nitish Kumar repeatedly told the teachers that his government would not fulfil their demands after they created ruckus at his public meetings in Motihari, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Begusarai, Khagaria, Madhepura during his 'Adhikar Yatra'.
The chief minister was sharply criticised by opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and left parties for his statement.