HT, 25 August 2016, DARJEELING: After leaving the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha fold, the members of Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers’ Organisation (JISTO, comprising volunteer teachers affiliated to GJM) have alleged that GJM, which is in power in Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, is carrying out a witch hunt.
The day after 300 JISTO members torched an effigy of Roshan Giri, GJM leader and GTA member in charge of education department, they have alleged that GJM is politically victimising them.
Trouble started brewing with GJM unilaterally declaring the sudden dissolution of JISTO Movement Committee on July 8. No reasons were given for the sudden dissolution. Around 515 ad hoc teachers have been agitating for the past one year demanding immediate regularisation under the aegis of JISTO.
Following this decision, around 114 teachers resigned from JISTO and floated the Hill Secondary Temporary Teachers’ Organisation (HSTTO.) On Wednesday, around 300 teachers resigned from JISTO and even burnt the effigy of Giri. In the evening, they held a meeting in Siliguri with Arup Biswas, TMC leader in charge of the Hills.
“The spate of resignations continues with many more teachers affiliated to JISTO from Bijanbari area handing over their resignations today. The GJM has started a witch hunt. The executive director of the department of education, GTA has ordered the district inspectors of schools, secondary education to furnish a list of all voluntary and para-teachers who were on leave or were absent on August 24, 2016,” said Amit Gurung, former JISTO leader.
“In the past when we were affiliated to GJM we were asked to skip school and agitate. During the 40 days’ strike called by GJM it was the same. We were agitating under the banner of GJM. There was not a single inquiry then. Now that we have left GJM they have embarked on a witch hunt. It is our democratic right to protest and demonstrate peacefully against anything we feel is wrong. They are now trying to politically victimise us,” said Gurung.
The ad hoc teachers have been blaming the education department of GTA for their sorry condition and have been demanding immediate regularisation.
“Within a week, we will call a general meeting and decide our future course of action. We could all join some other political party,” said Gurung.
The political scenario in the Hills is highly volatile with Bhupendra Pradhan (popular as Pradeep Pradhan,) GJM vice president and GTA chairman, resigning from GJM and joining TMC. He was offered the chairman’s post of TMC, Kurseong sub-division.