Nagaland: Teachers to go on indefinite hunger strike over regular job demand
All Nagaland Ad hoc Teachers' Group (ANATG)

Kohima: After a four-day peaceful silent protest, 1166 teachers of the All Nagaland Ad hoc Teachers’ Group (ANATG) 2015 batch on Thursday evening announced its decision to go on an indefinite hunger strike till the demand for regularisation of their service is fulfilled. 

“Utterly dismayed” with the state government’s indifferent attitude, the ad hoc teachers arrived at a decision to intensify their protest against the state government.

ANATG spokesperson Bendangtemsu Ozukum while addressing the media at the Naga Solidarity Park in Kohima said that the decision was made after 99 per cent of agitating teachers in attendance suggested hunger strike as a means to the next phase of agitation. 

The agitating teachers were irked after a meeting between the All Nagaland School Teachers Association (ANSTA), parent body of ANATG, and government officials led by the Commissioner and Secretary of School Education was inconclusive. 

Ozukum said that the government representatives informed them that they “want to help” but don’t know how to. Terming it as unfortunate, he said that the government representatives even asked the agitating teachers to “tell them” ways how to regularise their services. To this, he said that the teachers are simple people trying to teach their students. 

Referring to the 2018 hunger strike that was suspended, he said that the agitation which was suspended has now been revived. As the hunger strike begins tomorrow, he said that the teachers will no longer negotiate with the government.

“We do not want negotiations anymore. We want regularisation,” he said affirming that the teachers will fight to the very end. 

Teachers from across 100 government schools in Nagaland have been demanding for regularisation of their services. 

Speaking to EastMojo, a teacher on condition of anonymity highlighted the pay disparity, saying that ad hoc teachers were granted the 6th ROP while regular teachers were paid under the 7th ROP. The ad hoc teachers also have no right to claims like loans, GPF, medical and other benefits, the teacher said.

“We treat our students as our children. So, being a parent and leaving them behind without going to work hurts us so much. But we are compelled to come forward to fight for ourselves because our employer does not consider our welfare,” the agitated teacher said. 

While the government stresses on quality education, the teacher said that the government only wants a quality end product without clearing the process. Teachers joining the protest, on an average, teach about 4-5 subjects daily in one school alone, the teacher pointed out.

 “When we do not go to school, there is a negative impact on the students. But we are crippled. While it our duty as teachers to teach, it is also the duty of the government to consider the rights of the teachers rather than compelling them to come forward to fight for their rights,” the teacher added. 

Another teacher added, “As teachers, it feels terrible to leave our children behind. But we are also here for the other teachers so that justice is served to all.”

Despite the demand for regularisation of services, the state government has said that it is not possible to regularise ad hoc teachers till the standing order from the Supreme Court gets vacated. 

However, the Rising People’s Party, whose members also comprise former leaders of the Action Against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) and Public Service Aspirants of Nagaland (PSAN), said that in the litigation filed before the High Court, case no. 145 (K) 2017 by ACAUT and PSAN, the Grade-III ad hoc teachers were not impleaded. 

The litigation only pertained to those posts falling under the purview of the Nagaland Public Service Commission, which it alleged were filled through backdoor appointments without examination. 

Also read | ‘Semkhor’: Nagaland Dimasa body condemns wrong depiction of community in film

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