12 hunger strikers of COTA arrested by police, 16 more begin fast unto death

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IMPHAL, Jan 21: The first batch of 12 teachers who have been on fast-unto-death strike since January 19 at Keishampat Junction under the aegis of Council of Teachers’ Association (COTA) demanding the implementation of 6th revised central pay have been arrested by the police today, while another batch of 14 teachers have joined the stir soon after their arrest.

The 12 hunger-strikers were arrested by a team of Imphal Police Station at around 10:30 am from Keishampat Junction near Modhu High School where they were holding the hunger strike. The 12 arrested teachers are M. Debandra Singh, W. Ibohal, S.

Gunamani, N. Ibochouba, T. Khogendro, Chalamba Athokpam, N. Khogendro, S. Mitrajit, N. Surchandra, H. Ingo Singh, Maisnam Romabati and RK Sobhabati.

The arrested teachers were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West, and sent to judicial custody. 10 male teachers have been lodged at Sajiwa Jail while the remaining two female teachers have been lodged at Central Jail, Imphal.

Soon after the arrest of first batch of 12 teachers another batch of 16 teachers from various districts including five female teachers has started the fast-unto-death strike. The second batch hunger-strikers are Ch. Kumar, S. Biramani, Ksh. Ajit, H. Nokuldro, Y. Mohendro, L. Kendrajit, M. Jadumani, M. Surjen, A. Shanta Sharma, Y. Mangisangbi, L. Chaobi, K. Indubala, L. Dayanidhi, A. Mani Devi, Mutum Kumar and Irengbam Bheirot.

Speaking to mediapersons today, the co-convenor of COTA, M. Joykumar stated that instead of fulfilling the demands of the teachers the state government has arrested the teachers who are carrying out a peaceful and non-violent protest demanding the implementation of 6th revised pay as mentioned in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the state government and the JAC of AMGEO and AMTUC along with COTA on May 19, 2010.

He further said that the teachers who have been assigned as enumerators in census operation will also refrain from their duty until the demands are fulfilled; however, other teachers who are not on strike will conduct classes in their respective classes.

The president of Hill Districts Teachers’ Association, ZR Engpu stated that the government teachers in the hill districts will render utmost help and support to the COTA. The teachers will further adopt various forms of agitation to demand the implementation of 6th pay which has been neglected by the state government, he said.

The COTA also condemned the police for assaulting the general secretary of Ukhrul Teachers’ Association, Jimmy Tangkhul for refraining from the census duty.

Meanwhile, the COTA has also submitted a memorandum to the Union HRD Minister intimating him of their demands for the implementation 6th revised central pay and the fast-unto-death strike launched by the teachers in this regard.

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