Published: 22nd October 2022
Protests by 2014 TET-qualified candidates continue at Dharmatala; protesters file petition against Section 144 imposition
Agitators from Karunamoyee were cleared by the Bidhannagar Police force on Thursday, October 20 after the Kolkata HC order; the State government draw for manhandling protesters
Kolkata’s Karunamoyee protest site was cleared on Thursday, October 20 after more than 90 hours of a hunger strike by 2014 TET-qualified candidates who were not provided with a job opportunity despite the Chief Minister’s announcement in November 2020 of 20,000 exclusive jobs for these candidates. The 2014 TET-qualified candidates are the victims of the recruitment scam for which the former Chairman of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WBBPE), Manik Bhattacharya, is detained by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The agitators were staging their protest near the Karunamoyee office of WBBPE, demanding immediate recruitment; however, following the High Court order imposing Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the site was forcefully cleared by the police force. On Friday, the protesters filed a petition challenging the Calcutta High Court order imposing Section 144 of CrPC.
Protesters were dragged and detained by the Bidhannagar police, in the aftermath of which, many sustained injuries. Achinta Dhara, Achintya Samanta and Arnab Ghosh, the leaders of the organisation 2014 Qualified Trained Not Included Candidates Ekota Mancha, that orchestrated the protests in Karunamoyee, were detained till noon yesterday, October 22. The job applicants filed a plea before the Calcutta High Court on Friday, October 21, contesting the single bench ruling imposing Section 144 of the CrPC at the protest site. “It is our democratic right to protest, depriving us of our right to claim the street to criticise is denying us the right to voice our opinion,” says Achinta Dhara. He further informed EdexLive that a division bench will hear the appeal on October 28.
Protest continues at Dharmatala
The Dharmatala protests are still on at the Matangini Hazra’s statue pedestal and October 22 marks its 68th day. Achinta Dhara says, “We protested at Dharmatala once we were released. We wore black badges and staged demonstrations till late at night. However, the exhaustion, chaos and the treatment have worn us down; many have physically fallen sick”
Criticism against the action of the state government
As per PTI reports, film director Aparna Sen criticised the manhandling of the protesters and the police action. She further charged the state government with violating citizens’ democratic rights. She took to social media to tweet: “The Trinamool government is flouting the basic democratic rights of the hunger strikers; Section 144 issued against a non-violent protest. Why? I strongly condemn the undemocratic and unethical action of the West Bengal govt.”
Suvendu Adhikari, BJP leader in the opposition also tweeted criticising the state government, which read: “West Bengal's current situation is alarming. Police applying brute force on agitating candidates of TET 2014 at Salt Lake to forcefully end their legitimate sit-in demonstration near the state Primary Education board office.”