Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Worker-Socialists Intervene in the Agitation of Shiksha-Mitras as Scores of them Pour in at Jantar Mantar in Delhi

- Our Delhi Correspondent/ 12.9.2017

As agitation of ‘Shiksha-Mitras’ of Uttar Pradesh in Delhi entered the second day of protest, a massive gathering of these primary teachers has taken place at Jantar Mantar today, with more and more pouring in till late afternoon. Entire stretch on both sides of the road, from Kasturba Gandhi Marg to Jantar Mantar, was occupied by these teachers after the allocated space was full.

Comrades from WSP took part in the protest and talked to many of such affected teachers individually, addressing them alongside in small groups at few points.

The agitation of shiksha-mitras in Delhi is part of their ongoing movement since the judgment of Supreme Court has given green signal to the state government to throw around one lakh seventy two thousand teachers on road. The teachers, who had worked for years together before being relieved of their jobs without any plausible justification, had come to Delhi to protest against their victimisation by the government of Uttar Pradesh.

To highlight the distress that these teachers are undergoing, many of them protested today 'shirtless'. They spoke of their sufferings that they are facing after performing their job duties with honesty and sincerity for years together.

BJP, the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh, in its manifesto issued for Assembly elections this year, had promised to regularise the services of shiksha-mitras after it would form the government in the state. But after its victory, it has played nefarious game to subvert the cause of these teachers in a litigation pending before the Supreme Court, deliberately begging a verdict to the detriment of these teachers. The state government under BJP, is hiding its own wicked designs behind this verdict.

The Supreme Court, in its turn, has dismissed the appeals filed by the state government and shikshamitras separately challenging a judgement of Allahabad High Court that has declared as illegal and void the notification issued by the former government regularizing the services of shiksha-mitras through their absorption in the cadre of trained teachers. In the result, around 1,72,000 shiksha-mitras had to lose their jobs at one go.

The teachers were critical of the former state government under Samajvadi Party too, who according to them had played the same trick like the present one. After issuing the notification, it had deliberately permitted it to be defeated on the floor of the High Court.

As WSP members spoke to shiksha-mitras for around more than two hours, it was revealed that the media, specially electronic media, under pressure of the government, has consciously boycotted the agitation by the victimized teachers. None of the TV channels has covered such an important event where thousands of affected teachers have come to Delhi to participate in the protest against the injustice handed out to them.

They teachers were critical of the political parties and leaders of all hues. Sunder Singh from Bareilly told that none of the leaders of any party has come to support their cause. The agitating teachers welcomed WSP comrades and pledged to take their agitation till its logical end.

They were vocal in their interviews with WSP supporters, narrating in detail the injustice done to them and their woes that include low and irregular pay scales, insecurity of the jobs, spiraling unemployment, rising prices of commodities and consequently falling standards of living.

After the verdict, few teachers have committed suicides and the police has resorted to brutal repression in dealing with the agitation of shiksha-mitras at many occasions in different cities and towns.

The teachers narrated as to how they have got no way out after losing their jobs amidst the widespread unemployment. Few of them narrated that the job was only source of bread in the family.

Sunayna, from eastern UP told that she is a widow with two small kids and had the only job at hand to arrange for daily bread. Ramvir from Saharanpur told that he had paid thirty five thousand as bribe to get the job and now its over.

The struggle of shiksha-mitras is associated with frequent militant actions by these low paid teachers. These teachers, most of whom come from poor and downtrodden sections of the society, have given frontal challenge to the governments in Uttar Pradesh.

Predicament of the teachers is that all parties and governments have betrayed them or have not cared for them at all. All of them have played with the lives of these proletarians, with no exception.

Questioning the slogan that these teachers were raising frequently, “Jo Sarkar Nikammi hai, Wo Sarkar Badalni hai” WSP supporters asked them which government do they really want in place of the present one. The teachers agreed that a mere changeover between the parties of the rich and elites has neither brought any change in life of the working and toiling poor in the past, nor it could do so in future.

WSP supporters also spoke to the teachers to tell them that their struggle is part and parcel of the far wider 
class struggle of the working class against their common enemy- capitalism and the capitalist state. They explained to the teachers how the consecutive governments in the states and at the centre have only served to facilitate the exploitation of labour at extremely low wages.

WSP supporters propagated the idea of a ‘Workers and Toilers Government’ in place of that of the rich and elites. They also told the teachers that the very same government that is victimizing them, is also victimizing the other sections of the working and toiling people. Special mention was made to the recent reprehensible convictions of the workers in Graziano and in Maruti before that.

Supporters of the WSP assured every possible assistance to the poor teachers in their struggle against the government to get back their jobs and get it regularized.

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