WB: Hunger Strike By School Service Commission Aspirants Enters 4th Week; Several Admitted To Hospital After Falling Sick
The School Service Commission teachers’ hunger strike which began on February 28, in West Bengal has entered the fourth week. The fast-unto-death strike has made several protesters fall ill, the reported number of people who have fallen ill is 50. Some have even been admitted to hospitals, as reported by Bengali daily Anandabazar.
These 450 people are among the 5,000 candidates who had applied for the post of assistant teachers and had qualified the School Service Commission (SSC) exams in 2013 and 2017 and are waiting to get recruited. According to them, there has been no recruitment since 2014 and thousands of seats are lying vacant across schools in the state, reported by Newsclick.
Fast unto death
There have been regular protests and demonstrations from a long time, but the protesters allege that none of their concerns has been addressed by the state government. Right now, agitating candidates are on hunger strike in front of the Press Club, Dharmatala, Kolkata, demanding for immediate filling of seats. Seeking no support from the government, the candidates have refused to stop their protest until their demands are met.
Hunger strike by nearly 350 job seekers against the school service commission in front of Press club of Kolkata is now 21 days, yet the hunger strike did not change the situation. Protesters want direct intervention of CM, but she yet to respond. We fully support your demand. pic.twitter.com/VhcHg5cNbM
— চৌকিদার Kishore Kar (@KishoreKar) March 20, 2019
“The government is only making the lives of the candidates difficult, it is also putting the education of students in jeopardy, ” said Bijou Ghorai, a member of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).
@IndiaToday west bengal school service commission waited list empaneled candidates are doing hunger strike for last 22 days for job but govt dont pay need to us 65 hospitalised,2 dengu 1 miscarraige .but they will continue it till death in kolkata.sir/mam pls cover this news pic.twitter.com/FIAyAQ1JRf
— chandrani dutta (@chandra63803101) March 22, 2019
As reported by The Indian Express, the notification for the 2017 examination was put out in 2016, while the selection test took place in 2017. The results for the same was published in March 2018. However, all this time qualified teachers have not received appointment despite vacancies. It is also being alleged that there is no transparency in the number of vacancies. The long delay has raised suspicion in the mind of the candidates, who now allege “backdoor appointments” by the commission.
What did education minister say?
State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee also visited the protesters on the fourth day of the hunger strike said “I listened to what they said. They need not be worried. Those qualified will certainly be called for interview in due course of time.”
On March 2, Partha had asked the protesters to end the strike and come for discussions with the government. He had also met the protesters then and promised to look into their demands and facilitate a discussion with the West Bengal School Service Commission, as reported by Business Standard.
The Logical Indian Take
It is the election time and the TMC government in the state has taken to active campaigning. In this, pertinent issues as that of employment have taken a backseat. A large number of students who have put in months of effort and hard work have been denied of their right.
This situation is not just limited to these students. Around the country, candidates qualifying in prestigious examinations are left to fend for themselves as they have been received an appointment, one prime example being the Staff Selection Commission exam.
The Logical Indian hopes that the government realises that this is an issue of great importance and that they should not wait for a major mishap to happen before any proper step is taken.