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Patna rocked by protests against opening teachers’ jobs for those not from Bihar

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PATNA, July 1 (PTI): The Bihar capital was on Saturday rocked by protests against the state government’s controversial decision to allow those from other provinces to compete for teachers’ jobs.

A massive demonstration was staged by young men and women at the Dak Bungalow crossing in the heart of Patna, creating traffic snarls, even as police took recourse to use of force for dispersal and rounded up quite a few who they found most unruly.

“The demonstration is being staged without any permission from the administration. We are trying to explain to the protesters that what they are doing is illegal. Use of force has been a last resort,” Deputy Superintendent of Police, Law and Order, Patna, Nurul Haq, told reporters.

Asked about the number of people, both men and women, who have been taken into custody, the Deputy SP said, “At present, we are not in a position to give the figures. We will work it out and let details be known once we are through with maintaining order in the affected area”.

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However, the protesters, who claimed to have cleared eligibility tests like CTET and BTET, alleged that the police action was reflective of the government’s apathy.

“Do these people not have any shame? We are educated people and holding a peaceful demonstration over our legitimate concerns. Yet they are using force and arresting us as if we were criminals”, said Puja Singh, a job aspirant who had come from Begusarai district.

Notably, the Nitish Kumar cabinet had, earlier this week, announced that a “no domicile” policy will be adopted for recruitment of teachers, drawing flak from the opposition BJP as well as the CPI(ML) Liberation which supports the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government from the outside.

The situation seems to have been exacerbated with the state’s education minister Chandra Shekhar giving a statement that the policy was brought in view of a dearth of talent within the state.

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Meanwhile, the BJP has announced that it will hold a “Vidhan Sabha” march on July 13, the penultimate day of the assembly’s monsoon session commencing on July 10, in support of the demand of aspirants for teachers’ jobs.

BJP’s leader in the state legislature, Vijay Kumar Sinha, alleged at a press conference that education in Bihar has been ruined “in the last 30 years”, an obvious allusion to the RJD’s 15 years’ rule till 2005 when Nitish Kumar took over.

The BJP leader, whose party shared power with Kumar till about a year ago, also took potshots at the RJD supremo’s “Charwaha Vidyalaya” scheme and alleged that “it denoted the ruling party’s frivolous attitude towards education”.

Speaking at the same press conference, state BJP president Samrat Choudhary also said, “Our Vidhan Sabha march, which will commence at Gandhi Maidan (about three kms away) will also be in support of other demands of teachers and job aspirants”.

“We support the demand of CTET and BTET pass candidates that they be considered for direct appointment as teachers instead of a lengthy screening process conducted by the state’s public service commission,” Choudhary said.

The Bihar BJP president also demanded that the state government must also immediately consider regularising non-commissioned (niyojit) teachers and bring them at par with government employees.




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