Job seekers

West Bengal job seekers protest called off, Karunamoyee in Salt Lake quiet again

From bustle to desert with strewn posters and newspapers, Karunamoyee in West Bengal’s salt lake has seen contrasting scenarios over the past three days.

Hundreds of protesters staged a four-day sit-in demonstration after police halted their march to primary state Education Council Headquarters Monday.

The protesters took the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) in 2014, but failed to pass the two rounds of interviews for which they appeared. Following allegations of large-scale recruitment corruption, agitators, including those who took the test in 2017, demanded direct recruitment, saying their appointments were thwarted because the board chose the path of corruption and given jobs to undeserving candidates in the first place.

Recently, a corruption case has come to light which has rocked the school education sector in Bengal and put the influential school board and school service commission authorities as well as former education minister Partha Chatterjee behind the bars.

THE CLAIMS AGAINST

Council officials say candidates who qualified for the TFW in 2014 have already gone through two recruitment processes in the past eight years and some 53,000 nominations have been awarded to this batch.

In the latest recruitment notification dated September 29, the panel asked qualified, but not included, 2014 candidates to appear for a further round of interviews alongside candidates from the next batch of 2017 who passed the exam. .

The call angered restless 2014 candidates who issued a counter-call to boycott any further interviews and demanded direct recruitment instead. Additionally, the Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee gave public assurances to fill vacancies with qualified candidates on a phased basis once legal disputes are settled.

THURSDAY NIGHT DRAMA

The police launched an operation in the middle of the night to clear the road. Officers from Bidhannagar Police Station started dragging job seekers in 2014 into prison buses and vans. Protesters were crammed into three buses and driven away. The demonstrators were gradually arrested. They were taken from there by bus. A few protesters fell ill and were taken to the ambulance for treatment. A large contingent of RAF and police were on hand.

However, despite all of this, the 2017 TFW graduates have stuck to their guns. At night, the police came and talked to them. Some were taken by bus to other places. But most of them did not agree to go anywhere at night for security reasons. Later, more police were brought in.

First, bystanders from the 2017 TFW made it clear to the police that they will be leaving Karunamoyee in the morning. But eventually the police forcibly took them all away.
At around 12:30 a.m. Friday, as police forcibly evacuated protesters, opposition party leaders and activists at the scene first formed a human chain. Before arresting the demonstrators, the police asked them to stand by the microphone. As the request was not followed up, the police acted on the orders of the superior officer.

Sources said a car took 18 job seekers from Newtown Police Station to Sealdah Station at 4.30am on Friday. Until then, around 50 job applicants were still inside the Newtown police station. According to police sources, they did not want to go there at night even if they wanted to release them.

Police personnel released the job seekers at Newtown Police Station at 5am on Friday. But the whereabouts of their three leaders was unknown. Later, Arnav Ghosh, Achintya Dhara, Achintya Samant were found at Bidhannagar East Police Station where they were being questioned.

The job applicants said they will once again face the police on the streets of Kolkata with full force and desperation in the coming days.

DYFI State Chairman Meenakshi Mukherjee was present at the protest. Regarding the arrest, she said the police acted unethically to break up this movement. Opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari and BJP chairman Sukanta Majumdar tweeted to condemn the state action.

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