Published: 02nd October 2023
Telangana: Spouse teachers observe silent fast for demand fulfilment on Gandhi Jayanti; detained
About 300 teachers and their children from 13 districts of Telangana participated in the demonstration in Hyderabad
The Telangana government's inaction over transfer requests put forth by government school teachers who are spouses has forced them to take to the streets once more. Today, October 2, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the Telangana State Spouse Forum held a peaceful protest by fasting in front of the Directorate of School Education (DSE) in Hyderabad. However, police swooped in, and several teachers, along with their families, were arrested.
The protest started at about 11:30 am. Over 300 teachers and their children from 13 districts of Telangana participated, demanding that spouse teachers be transferred to schools in the same district. The spouse forum has been demanding this move for the last two years, and despite many protests and meetings over the issue during this time, the government has yet to fulfill the teachers' demand.
As the teachers started their protest, police personnel were deployed on the spot. After about an hour, the police allegedly started arresting the protesters "in a brutal manner", according to a spouse forum member. Further, "The teachers were forcibly detained by the police. Several women teachers were dragged and dumped in police vehicles," reads a press release by the forum. Crying children and struggling parents are indeed visible in pictures of the site shared by the forum with EdexLive.
"All the protesters were arrested. The police even took the children into custody," recounts Vivek S, President of TS Spouse Forum, adding that the teachers were taken to the Gandhinagar, Musheerabad, Nampally and Chikkadpally police stations in Hyderabad and detained there till evening.
"We continued our protest at the police stations, by holding placards and reciting slogans," the president said. According to him, the teachers will continue their protest once more after about 15 days if the government does not respond to their demand. Today, they have not received any response to their protest yet.
The problems arising
The teachers share that due to spouses being posted in different districts, in order to live together, either the husband or wife has to travel around 200-300 kilometres daily. In many cases, the spouses have to live separately, resulting in their children having to adjust with either the mother or father, or siblings having to live separately. Meanwhile, teachers with elderly parents are also unable to take care of them due to separate living arrangements. This is creating additional troubles and mental agony for them, often hampering their teaching duties.
"For the past 22 months, the women teachers have been in tears as they have been working in far-flung areas and are mentally and physically exhausted and want to solve their problem at least now. Unable to travel hundreds of kilometres to support their elderly parents, they are unable to take care of their family and are mentally depressed," reads the press release.
According to Vivek, the district-wise allotment of teachers was done in December 2021 in Telangana as per the 2018 Presidential Orders. The government had then made it clear that the teachers who are husband and wife should be allotted posts in districts of their choice as per Circular Memo Number 1655. However, this memo was not implemented. On March 8, several women teachers submitted a representation to Education Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy on the matter. Later that day, about 600 spouse teachers out of a total of 2,000 received appointments in their chosen districts. But about 1,400 are still waiting.
On August 30, the Telangana High Court enabled the transfer of government school teachers under the regular transfer procedure. But this judgement does not solve the spouse teachers' problems.