Srinagar Witnessed Teachers In Multiple Colours On Teachers Day

By Umar Khurshid

SRINAGAR: On September, 5, as the world celebrated Teachers’ Day, teaching fraternity in Kashmir played hide and seek with the police after they were chased by the police for trying to march towards the civil secretariat. They have been pressing for their demand of pending salaries for many days and they wanted to use the Day for a march which was disallowed.

A gathering of ReT teachers at Municipal Park in Srinagar on September 5, 2018, during a protest demonstration against their pending salaries. KL photo by Bilal Bahadur

The ReT teachers community under the banner of Joint Action Committee (TJAC), led by its president Abdul Qayoom Wani, were holding banners and placards that read: “Implement 7th pay Commission”, and “We want justice”. They assembled at the Sher-e-Kashmir Park and started a protest march towards Lal Chowk. The employees were demanding implementation of the seventh pay commission.

Police used water cannons to disperse ReT teachers protest in Srinagar on September 5, 2018, KL image by Bilal Bahadur

The teachers had announced that they will be trying to march towards the Governor’s residence and ask the government to fulfill their long-pending demand of inordinate delay in delinking salary from funds received from the Centre. The process of de-linking the wages of employees working for various central government projects in Jammu and Kashmir had started earlier. While some sections of the employees got benefitted the process stopped after Mehbooba Mufti government sacked Dr Haseeb Drabu, the man behind the correction.

As the teachers’ massive gathering stepped outside the Municipal Park Srinagar, police swung into action and chased away the protesting teachers resulting in chaos in and outside the park. Police also resorted to cane charging and used water cannons after the protesting teachers tried to march outside the municipal park.

One of the ReT teacher while posing towards a police after water cannons were showered in order to disperse them at Municipal Park in Srinagar on September 5, 2018. KL photo by Bilal Bahadur

“We have been crying all the time but the government is not listening to us. We are being forced to take to the streets. How will we feed our families when our salaries are being withheld,” one of the protesting teachers asked.

Reportedly several persons have sustained injuries during the chase. “The police treated us like cattle and thrashed us mercilessly,” another protesting teacher alleged.

ReT teachers running after being chased by the police during a protest at Municipal Park in Srinagar on September 5, 2018. KL photo by Bilal Bahadur

The protesting teachers said the irregular salaries were causing immense hardships for them. They said if the government was making tall claims about improving standards of education in the state then why they were doing injustice to us.

They also warned the Government of prolonged agitation if their demands are not met. They also demanded regularization of ReT teachers who have completed their five-year term. The other demands of the ReT teachers include implementation of transfer policy and promotions of teachers.

“The government is humiliating the nation builders,” one angry teacher said. “Whenever the teachers raise a voice in favor of their demands the government rakes up the screening test issue.”

A policeman in action while dispersing ReT teachers protest at a Municipal Park in Srinagar, on September 5, 2018. KL photo by Bilal Bahadur

But that was just one facet of the Teachers Day in Kashmir. There was a major function in the SKICC On this occasion. Advisor to Governor, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai presided over the function. He termed teachers as “beacons of hope”, who should be encouraged by students and parents by expressing gratitude, respect, and support to them. The Advisor Ganai expressed these views while addressing a large gathering of teachers, Chief Education Officers, Zonal Education Officers, and academician, on the eve of Teachers Day observed at SKICC in Srinagar.

Congratulating the teaching fraternity for celebrating the day, the Advisor said that while celebrating the day, it is the time for “introspection” for teachers so that they can better their teaching style.

Highlighting the role of teachers, the Advisor said that teachers’ play an influential and a significant role to shape up the future of their students in their formative years. Ganai attributed teachers as “beacons of light” who with their guidance have the power to mold and shape the future of their students.  He said teachers are the founders who shape responsible and civilized citizens for the society.

Urging students to express their gratitude towards their teachers, the Advisor said it is important that students appreciate their teachers for the altruistic devotion they show in shaping their careers and lives. Speaking about teachers working under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT), the Advisor said Government stands by the Committee formed under the chairmanship of Finance Secretary to look into their demands.

Advisor to Governor, Khurshid Ahmad Ganai during a teachers day function at SKICC in Srinagar on September 5, 2018.

The Advisor in his speech urged the teachers to stay away from any such act which will reduce their value among their students. He assured that Government is giving highest consideration to their demands and an urgent decision in this regard would soon be taken.

He said the need is to shape the future generation which will have a scientific temper and motivation to make a better society. Emphasizing upon teachers to adopt latest teaching methods, Ganai said scientific minds would not be created by “run of the mill attitude” for this teachers need to work hard.

Meanwhile, in Jammu, on the birth anniversary of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a colorful programme was organized by Education Department at Teacher Bhawan. District Education Planning Officer, Swaran Singh, and Deputy Chief Education Officer, Devinder Singh Manhas were present on the occasion.

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