Police beat up, detain teachers agitating for regularisation of jobs

KARACHI:December 26: Police resorted to baton-charge and took into custody several teachers in an attempt to stop them from marching on Chief Minister House on Monday. The protesters were agitating for the regularisation of their jobs.

As several hundred teachers arrived at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) and tried to move towards the CM House, police already deployed on the surrounding roads baton-charged them and used tear gas and water cannons to disperse them, badly injuring some of them, including a female teacher.

Earlier, authorities concerned invited the teachers for talks at commissioner’s office, where they failed to reach an agreement.

SP Saddar Tauqeer Mohammed Naeem told Dawn that the teachers compelled the police to take action.

“The provincial government has already banned such rallies in red zone,” he said.

‘The provincial government has already banned such rallies in red zone’

The SP added that the police initially tried to disperse them with the help of water cannons.

“But when they attacked policemen with stones and tried to damage their vehicles, the police were forced to baton-charge and tear gas them. Around 20 to 25 teachers have been detained,” he said.

A central leader of the All Sindh Primary Teachers Association, Javed Ahmed, told Dawn that he along with 70 to 80 other teachers was detained at the Artillery Maidan police station while several of his colleagues were imprisoned at other police stations.

Mr Ahmed said they started the march for the fulfilment of their demands, some of them had already been agreed to by the provincial authorities but they were not implemented.

The march started from the mausoleum of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai in Bhit Shah on Dec 10 and after passing through various cities arrived at the KPC on Monday.

The teacher body’s leader said that two officials from the South district administration approached them for talks, to which they agreed.

He further said that he along with four other office-bearers held talks with the Karachi commissioner and the special secretary for education was also present at the meeting.

“We left the commissioner’s office when we were told that they (the senior officials) were not in a position to fulfil our demands,” said Mr Ahmed.

He said when they were about to reach the KPC, the policemen already deployed there arrested them.

“And as other teachers after failure of talks tried to move towards the CM House, they were subjected to high-handedness,” he said.

The teachers’ leader claimed that a woman teacher, Farzana, fell unconscious because of tear gas while another teacher’s nose was damaged during the baton charge.One of the teachers was struck in the head so hard that he was seen bleeding profusely.

Regarding their future line of action, the teacher said they had decided to fast unto death at the KPC.

Some of their demands were about the promotion of teachers to grade 16 and regularisation of services of the teachers working on contracts and those who have passed NTS tests.

He claimed that the Sindh government had agreed to grant them the 16 scale in 2014 but it was not implemented.

The protesting teachers requested Inspector General of Sindh Police A.D. Khowaja to release their collegues and appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the Chief Justice of Sindh High Court to pay special attention to their demands and issue orders for regularisation of their jobs.Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2017.