Teachers climb water tank in protest; baton charged (Lead)

February 21st, 2011 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Feb 21 (IANS) At least 12 qualified Urdu teachers were injured here Monday after police baton charged to break their demonstration demanding appointment in schools, officials said.In a protest inspired by a Bollywood film, six teachers, including three women, climbed atop a 50 feet high water tank just across the Uttar Pradesh assembly complex here and threatened to jump off if their demands are not conceded.

After the district authorities managed to persuade them to come down, police resorted to baton charge to disperse the protesters.

“The protesters were removed forcibly only after they refused to accept our assurances that the authorities would look into their demands,” District Magistrate Anil Sagar told reporters here.

Police claimed that they resorted to force after the protesters became unruly and that no one was seriously injured in the incident.

Hundreds of the Urdu degree holders assembled near the Vidhan Sabha Monday morning and protested against the state government, demanding recognition of their Maullim-e-Urdu degree equivalent to Basic Training Certificate (BTC) and appointment in primary schools.

“Our repeated appeals to the government to grant Urdu teachers parity in pay scales with the basic education teachers has fallen on deaf ears, so we have no option but to give up our lives by jumping down from this water tank,” said Hisam Uddin Siddiqui, president of the Maullim Urdu Association, one of the six teachers who climbed on top of the water tank.

“Every time we met people in the government, we have been assured that our demand would be looked into sympathetically, but nothing appears to have been done so far, so where do we go,” lamented Siddiqui.

He said there are as many as 5,000 such teachers across the state.

Hundreds of teachers gathered in support of the agitators and raised anti-government slogans.

The officials had even sought the assistance of the army to get them down from the water tank.

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