Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has rightly challenged the veracity of the claim made by the Asom Ga Parishad (AGP) that 3,832 teachers committed suicide in the State because of non-payment of their dues. This is the kind of irresponsible and preposterous claim that no one is likely to believe. And yet such false claims have a way of creating panic and triggering off uncalled-for violence by political groups and vigilante elements and deserve to be roundly condemned by all right-thinking people. We have expressed concern at the news of two suicides committed by teachers who had to starve because they had not received their dues for over three years. We take such matters very seriously because they reflect the irresponsibility and callousness of the State administration. The suicide of 3,832 teachers in a single State of India is the kind of news that would shake up the conscience of entire humanity and bring responsible jourlists of the entire world to Assam. They are not here because such a thing has not happened. The Chief Minister of Assam has rightly asked AGP leaders to furnish relevant documents in support of their claim. He has sought district-wise reports from the AGP. One fails to understand why the AGP should have made such a preposterous claim when a claim of 3,832 teachers from the entire country taking their own lives would be a difficult one to substantiate. Just because a political party is getting desperate about its poor electoral prospects, it cannot justify resorting to such fantastic falsehood just to draw attention to itself.
A Tall Claim Refuted