Names of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Education Minister I.D. Dhiman, DGP G.S. Gill and ASP Shimla Mahinder Singh figure in the complaint filed on Monday with the National Human Rights Commission on the issue of ‘merciless torture’ of the protesting PTA teachers in Himachal. The complaint has been filed by a human rights advocacy body, Global Human Rights Council, on behalf of the PTA teachers who are protesting against government’s decision to hold an inquiry into their appointments on basis of complaints of candidates who were ignored during recruitments. Official figures of complaints received so far is 3,500.
Arvind Thakur of the Global Human Rights Council today said that the hearing in the complaint filed against the CM, education minister, DGP and ASP would come up for hearing before three member bench of the NHRC on November 2. Such violent handling of peacefully protesting people is violation of human rights, he said.
A total commotion prevails in the state over the issue of alleged irregular appointment of teachers through Parent Teachers Associations (PTA) in schools and colleges done during the previous Congress government. And now with filing of a complaint with the NHRC the issue has caught fire. Parallel to the teacher’s agitation as a combat strategy the government is daily releasing (since past three days) a list of teachers whose appointments have been declared irregular by the inquiry committees of SDMs and ADMs. So far nearly 100 names have been released.
No one is clear what is the new criterion adopted by the government for judging the complaints and what exactly was the previous criteria. But the reasons given in support of the government’s inquiry results are mainly ignorance of merit and ineligibility of the interviewing authority like the PTA pradhan. However, everyone still wonders what stops the government from releasing a comprehensive report clarifying all doubts.
The government that promised new and more jobs in its manifesto now seems running short of new ideas of creating employment. A larger feeling of being cheated is also cropping up amongst those who had come forward to file complaints against the PTA teachers reportedly on provocation, thinking that once the incumbent is thrown out the job would straightaway land into his kitty. Alas! That has not happened and there seems no special route for entry into jobs for this lot who thought they were discriminated against by the Congress government. The Dhumal government is in a phased manner advertising vacant posts in schools that would be filled up by direct recruitment method by the education department, which makes sense though.
So in a way no one has gained, rather the state has lost it precious public money spent on the recruitment process that would happen once again now and also much time and money was lost in fighting out the by the BJP and Congress inside and outside the state assembly.
Tired and distraught after bearing the cane charge of the police, arrests and being booked the PTA teachers today saw light at the end of the tunnel when the human rights advocacy body came out in support of the PTA teachers, offering legal recourse in the case. With almost all of the teachers in the frontline of the agitation being booked and bundled away to police lock ups the agitation of the PTA teachers had almost started dwindling as there were not even a dozen teachers left who could independently carry ahead the resolve to sit on the hunger strike-fast unto death. But the second wind has blown.
President of the PTA teachers’ association Vivek Mehta, who is employed as PTA teachers in senior secondary school Nankhari in Rampur of district Shimla, said, “The agitation will not die out, from Wednesday onwards we would restart our hunger strike near the Secretariat or the government should allow us to protest at an alternate site”. And what if they are not allowed to protest in the main areas of the town? “As, the Police told us that we should go to the jungles to protest or sit on the trees, there is no place for us in the town to hold protest, we would certainly do that if need arises”, said Mehta.