IMPHAL, FEB 12: In the grim face of deprivation of their right to education for over a month with the current face off between the teachers and the state government, the students of the state left with no other choice but to stand up and defend for themselves have today warned off burning down their respective schools.
‘What use are schools if there is not going to be classes, schools should then be closed?’ K Herojit, a coordinator of the demonstration asked in the sideline
Braving all forces, students of various state run schools today came out to the streets demanding what is rightfully theirs resumption of their classes and an understanding between the government and the agitating teachers.
The students have set a deadline of 1 pm of February 13 for the government to respond to their demands ignoring which the students will be left with no other option but to burn down their schools which have become useless buildings in the face of the present confrontation between the government and the teachers.
With the class X and XII board exams just round the corner and with no one else to fall upon the students have decided take the matter into their own hands.
The students today stormed the gates of Raj Bhavan and demonstrated by tearing and throwing their books. Maintaining that the ever since teachers of government schools in the State under the conglomerate of Council of Teachers’ Association (COTA) have been refraining from discharging their duties of teaching the students in protest against the government’s indifference to the teachers` demand for the implementation of central revised sixth pay commission, the students of state owned schools have been left unheeded without so much as a mean to fall back on. Even though it has been a month since normal classes were last held, their studies have regularly been stalled following confrontation between the teachers’ body and the government.
Fearing that the suspension of their classes will eventually harm them while competing with students of other states, the students have made their point clear – to resume their classes by tomorrow evening or face the aggrieved students’ ire.
Unmindful of the students’ dilemma and pitiful situation COTA has been on striking mode on and off demanding the implementation of the central six pay commission in toto. Infact the teachers’ association has already started their fast unto death agitation which has resulted in the arrest of scores of teachers. The teachers also seem to have decided not to empathize with the plight of the students with the board exams which will be defining the lives of the students just round the corner.
If that was not unsavory enough, the police cracked down on the protesting teachers and kept them behind bars. News has been coming from inside the jail that the arrested teachers have been harassed and force fed by the police. Till today, 142 teachers have been reportedly arrested by the police.
After having sent out their message loud and clear in front of the Governor’s official residence, the students marched on towards the chief minister bungalow some 100 meters away from Raj Bhavan to submit a memorandum to the chief minister.
Halfway through, in front of Nupi Lal Memorial Complex, the demonstrating students were prevented to proceed further on by the police.
The aggressive students stepped up their protested by hurling their books at the security personnel who were blocking their way to the chief minister bungalow. After several rounds of hard bargaining, the visibly mellowed students’”allayed by Additional Superintendent of Police (Law and Order) Herojit’”were reassured that their grievances lettered in the memorandum will be handed over to the chief minister with the due urgency that it deserves. The chief minister was apparently not in his bungalow at that point of time.
K Herojit, students’ coordinator of the demonstration, has expressed a profoundly ominous warning against the authority that ‘if the government does not response positively by conducting classes until 1 pm tomorrow, we (students) will start burning down our respective school.’