Hundreds of teachers and management of private schools from across Karnataka protested at Freedom Park in Bengaluru, demanding the government to treat them as COVID-19 warriors and to vaccinate them in the first phase.
The protesters on Wednesday brought vehicular movement in the central business district to its knees for an hour. Of their many demands, they also sought special insurance, reported The Times of India. The teachers brought pushcarts with vegetables to depict their plight.
"We help educate more than 50 per cent of the children in the state," said D Shashi Kumar, secretary, Associated Managements of English Medium Schools in Karnataka. "Teachers engaged with parents and children. We must be considered COVID-19 warriors," he added.
They also said that they haven't been paid salaries for months since many students have not paid fees. "We asked the government for food kits for teaching and non-teaching staff," Kumar added.
"We pay money to the government on headings like teachers' welfare fund. But this fund has never been used for the welfare of our teachers. If not now, when will it be used?" said Kumar.
The protesters complained that the government-supported other sectors like taxi and auto drivers, but ignored teachers. "They could have helped us with low-interest loans and honorariums," said Srinivasa V, principal, Basaveshwara Educational Institute, Mysuru road.
Some teachers also said those conducting online classes are facing health issues. "Many have developed eye, neck and back problems. We need insurance to be treated," said Rangalakshmi, a teacher.
Ministers R Ashoka and Basavaraj Bommai interacted with teachers and promised to address some grievances.