GJM, JISTO threaten state govt over 'biased' verification process
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the voluntary teachers working in various schools in the hills are up in arms against the state government over its decision to summon only a section of the teachers for document verification today to the office of the district inspector of schools in Siliguri and have threatened to take legal course as well as start an intense agitation.
GJM general secretary Roshan Giri, who is also the Sabhasad in-charge of the education department, said it was another instance of the state government overruling the autonomy of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration as education was a transferred subject.
The Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers' organisation (JISTO) called it politically motivated as only those teachers owing allegiance to the Trinamool Congress were asked to go to Siliguri for document verification today.
Giri said, “The whole exercise is political in nature. The TMC wants to increase its base in the hills and is resorting to biased means to achieve its purpose. There should not be any politics in the education system."
The GJM leader said state education minister Partha Chatterjee had called on Wednesday night and invited him to attend a meeting on February 16 in Kolkata to discuss the issue. “I reminded the minister that education was a transferred subject and demanded to know why and how the state government was overruling the GTA. He has invited me to Kolkata to discuss the issue,” Giri said.
He said legal action would be taken if all the voluntary teachers were not called for the document verification. “We will see how the February 16 meeting goes, first. A petition has already been filed in the Supreme Court against the state government in cases relating to interference, formation of community development boards, non-implementation of the three-tier panchayat system, and non compliance to the GTA agreement and act, among others. We will attach a new petition and also file a separate case in the high court in this regard,” Giri said.
At present there are 515 voluntary teachers serving in 129 junior, high and higher secondary schools in the hills as the School Service Commission (SSC) is defunct since 2003. These teachers have been demanding regularisation since 2009 and even staged an agitation that included pen down strikes.
Vivek Newar, general secretary of the JISTO, warned of unrest in the hills if the state government resorted to partiality. “We have given our prime time serving voluntarily. Now when we are seeing a ray of hope, the state government is politicising the issue by being biased. We want either all (515) of us be regularised or none. Why have only those owing allegiance to the TMC been called for the document verification today?” he asked. “If this process is not put on hold, we will be compelled to agitate and that could lead to unrest in the hills. The state government will have to take the blame,” he said.
Tara Kharel, who has been a voluntary teacher for over 17 years in Goke High School in Bijanbari block of Darjeeling sub-division, said, “There are at least two to three teachers that I have taught who are getting their documents verified in Siliguri today but I have not been called. This is just because I am with JISTO while they have accepted the TMC flag,” he alleged.
Even though senior officials refused to comment, sources said as per instructions from Kolkata, the DI of schools today verified the documents of 180 voluntary teachers from the total of 307 listed. It is learnt that the verification process will continue till February 11.
Meanwhile, senior members of the Hill Secondary Temporary Teachers' organisation (HSTTO), which is affiliated to the TMC, did not respond to calls. (EOIC)