SIVASAGAR/JOYSAGAR/LAKHIMPUR, July 26: Tension prevailed in Sivasagar after the ‘salary-deprived’ teachers, who threatened to commit mass suicide, were stopped by the police leading to a fracas on Thursday. Hundreds of teachers entered into a fisticuff with police and tried to break open barricades set up by cops along the approach road leading to the historic Borpukhuri tank in Sivasagar town after they threatened to commit suicide en masse along with their family members over non-payment of salaries since the past many years.
As many as 1,530 teachers in Sivasagar had said that they would jump into the Borpukhuri (Sivasagar tank) to end their lives. Following the threat, security was beefed up along the road leading to the Borpukhuri tank in Sivasagar town and SDRF team was also deployed in Borpukhuri after the teachers threatened to commit suicide following non-payment of wages.
“Why is the government adopting such an attitude against us? Nobody can imagine the lives we are living. We are penniless. We can’t provide our children with the bare necessities of life,” a teacher cried. Another agitating teacher said, “The condition of these teachers and their families is terrible. We are facing a lot of hardship in raising our families and meeting medical expenses.”
Basanta Neog, secretary, All Assam Salary Deprived Assistant Teachers Association, said, “We are deprived of our salaries for the last several years. The lower and upper primary school teachers were given the appointment letters by the State government with a proper financial sanction. However, in 2006, they were declared to be appointed illegally.”
After a meeting with administration officials, the agitating teachers decided to put their protest on hold but threatened to resume if the government did not fulfil their demands. The teachers urged Sivasagar Deputy Commissioner PG Jha to finalize a date to hold another discussion with the Chief Minister and State Education Minister within a short time. The teachers said in the meeting that this time the discussion with the Assam government should finally settle the problems of the teachers and all pending salary should be released by the State Finance Department within two months. The Sivasagar Deputy Commissioner assured the leaders to do his best to finalize a date for discussion with the Chief Minister and State Education Minister.
Meanwhile, the Lakhimpur district administration was compelled to arrest the LP teachers under Sadou Asom Betan Banchita Karmarata Sikshak Santha (SABBKSS) in order to prevent them from committing mass suicide on Thursday. Lakhimpur police kept these teachers confined inside Tyag Kshetra of North Lakhimpur town till 2 pm after fulfilling the procedure of arrest.
Teachers under SABBKSS initiated various protest programmes across the State and resolved to commit mass suicide on July 26. As per this decision taken, the teachers of Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Jonai and Majuli district committees under SABBKSS, led by secretary Ramen Saikia, assembled at Tyag Kshetra on Thursday.