Over 100 people were injured when police lathi-charged, used water cannons and fired tear gas shells during a scuffle with the school teachers, who had been terminated, and were sitting on a dharna in Agartala on Wednesday, January 27.
According to The Indian Express, the police claimed that at least seven cops were injured and three public vehicles were damaged by the protesters. The publication further reported that violence erupted when the police personnel started yanking the protesters sleeping at the sit-in demonstration and dismantled the makeshift tent after Section 144 was imposed and the area had to be vacated. Around 300 teachers were also reportedly detained.
Inspector-General of Police (Law and Order) Arindam Nath told the reporters that a few suspended teachers had warned on social media about protests on Tuesday which had alerted the officials about a possible law and order deterioration.
"We chose this action as there were apprehensions of a law and order situation and disruption of essential services," Nath said. He, however, admitted that several teachers including women were injured in the lathi-charge.
As many as 10,323 teachers comprising of those teaching graduate, undergraduate and postgraduate courses formed a committee staging a protest and demanding permanent jobs. The teachers were sacked from their government jobs after a Supreme Court order declared their appointment during the previous government's regime as illegal.
In September last year, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb had assured the teachers of looking into their problems and solving it in two months' time. However, two months after a no-show, three organisations of these sacked teachers — Justice for 10323, All Tripura Ad Hoc Teachers Association and Amra 10323 came together to form a joint movement committee and had announced an indefinite mass sit-in-demonstration.
"This is the most shameful and barbaric incident. Teachers' clothes were torn by the police, food and other donations given to us at our protest venue were looted. The police acted like goons," said Dalia Das, one of the teachers.