Agartala, Jan 27 : Tension prevailed in Agartala on Wednesday, as scores of terminated school teachers demonstrated outside Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s official residence here, prompting the police to use tear gas and water cannons to disperse them.
Over 10,000 government school teachers were sacked last year, in accordance with a 2014 high court order, which said that their recruitment process was a faulty one. The Supreme Court later upheld the verdict.
Demanding a solution to the crisis, the teachers had been staging a sit-in over the last 52 days at Paradise Chowmuhani in the state capital.
Trouble started in the morning after the police dismantled the makeshift tent, where they had been holding the protest, and detained around 300 agitators.
Shortly after, the protesters set out on a march to the CM’s residence, notwithstanding the restrictions, even as the police tried to stop them.
A scuffle ensued, following which the police lathicharged the agitators, burst tear gas shells and sprayed them with water.
The demonstrators, in retaliation, ransacked vehicles of police and district officials.
“We had information that the movement could turn into a violent protest and there were chances of breach of peace.
The district magistrate had announced that prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC have been imposed around the CM’s residence. So the gathering was illegal,” Additional Superintendent of Police Shasvat Kumar said.
According to a member of the Joint Movement Committee (JMC) — a forum created by the terminated teachers — the Tripura police dismantled the tent without any warning, when the agitators were still asleep.
Many teachers were detained forcibly by the police and taken to Tripura State Rifles (TSR) camps near here. We are not criminals. Why did the government use force?” Kamal Deb, a leader of the forum, said here, adding that several protesters sustained injuries in the melee.
Inspector General (law and order) Arindam Nath told reporters that police applied force “judiciously and with a human face”.
Under no circumstances, we could have allowed the protest near the CM’s residence, he added.