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Teachers of Manipur on path of struggle
The agitation of school teachers of Manipur for the implementation of the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission continues without letup.
The School teachers are agitating under the banner of the Council of Teachers' Association (COTA). On January 23, 2011, police arrested 16 teachers including five women who were on fast unto death agitation for their demands. According to a release of the COTA, the women teachers are lodged in Imphal Central jail, while the male teachers are behind bars in the Sajiwa Central jail. This has brought to 29, the total number of teachers arrested while carrying out hunger strike, since the latest phase of indefinite fast unto death agitation was launched on January 19, 2011. The fast is being carried out in front of Keishampat Modhu Girls High School.
Co convener of COTA, M Joykumar said that the demand of teachers for the implementation of the 6th Pay Commission in toto is the right of teachers. COTA condemned the government for arresting the striking teachers instead of fulfilling their just demand. The decision to fast unto death was taken because the state government had persistently ignored these demands.
He said that the stand of the teachers not to execute census duty will remain unchanged. He accused the police of threatening teachers of Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul districts for their support of COTA's stand. Jimmik Tangkhul, secretary of Ukhrul District Teachers' Association was hospitalized after he was beaten up by police personnel.
The COTA launched the agitation for implementation of 6th Pay Commission in toto two years ago, on January 19, 2009. The sit in protest against the state government began on March 18, 2010 after the government failed to respond to the repeated memorandum of the teachers. Following a militant protest agitation, during which number of teachers were arrested, the government signed a memorandum of understanding that approved implementation of the 6th Pay Commission in toto. The Chief Minister Ibobi Singh was himself a signatory to this agreement.
However, the state government has not implemented this Memorandum of Understanding even eight months after it was signed. The Chief Minister has not fulfilled his assurance to implement the pay structure of 6th Central Pay for the teachers by January 4, 2011. It is against this backdrop that the fast unto death agitation has been launched by the school teachers of Manipur.