Published: 15th September 2018
Despite ongoing protests, these Kashmir ReT teachers ensure that classes are still going on
41,500 ReT teachers are protesting against the state government demanding that they receive the benefits allotted by the 7th pay commission
Over 41,500 Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers in Jammu and Kashmir are on strike against the state since April for not providing them the benefits laid down by the seventh commission. In addition to this, the teachers also allege that they haven't been receiving their salaries on time. But despite such circumstances, they are ensuring that their classes are not interrupted and that their students are the least affected by the commotion.
According to the ReT scheme implemented by the Jammu and Kashmir government in 2000, a candidate with the highest qualification from a particular panchayat is appointed as a teacher on a temporary basis. After completing a given time, they're made permanent employees. Farooq Ahmed Tantary, JKReT Forum chairman alleges that all the 41,500 teachers who've been made permanent members according to the ReT scheme have been exempted from the 7th pay commission benefits. "We're not getting paid accordingly. Our salaries are Rs 10,000 to 15,000 lesser than the other employees," he says, adding that their salaries are still in accordance to the 6th pay commission.
Tantary also tells us that Mehbooba Mufti, the previous Chief Minister of the state had formed a committee to resolve the issue, but the teachers are still unsure if the committee had submitted a report after completing their investigation. "After the Mufti government was dissolved, the then governor, Narinder Nath Vohra, also formed a committee with Principal Secretary Finance, Navin Kumar Choudhary as the chairman. The committee is not yet dissolved and we don't know what is happening. We don't have permanent solutions yet," he says. Nevertheless, he adds that as teachers, they cannot abandon their duty or their students and that regular classes are going on in all the schools.
The top delegation of the ReT have begun a hunger strike 10 days ago and also organised a mass protest on September 5, observing it as a 'Black Day.' He says that around 500 teachers were detained by the police, but they were released overnight, even though the local media reported the number to be as less as 30. "So many teachers are in the hospitals now. The hunger strike is taking a toll on us. We're under major trauma and pressure because we aren't even receiving our old salaries on time. Neither are our families. Despite all this, there is no response from the government," Tantary says.
Here are a few glimpses from the protest: