STFI Delegation Visits Bengal, Meets Teachers Tortured by TMC Goons
A DELEGATION of School Teachers’ Federation of India (STFI) paid a week-long visit to different parts of West Bengal to meet teachers who have become the victim of undemocratic political activities by members and supporters of the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress. The delegation comprising STFI general secretary K Rajendran, federation president Abhijit Mukharjee, secretariat member Swapan Bal and CEC member Indumadhab Mohanty visited several areas of Birbhum, Bankura, Hooghly, and East and West Midnapore districts from December 29 to January 5. The delegation met hundreds of affected teachers in each place and had an improbable experience. The teachers informed the delegation about how the brutal torture of Trinamool goons began just after the declaration of Assembly election result in May 2011. Thousands of teachers, Anganwadi workers and mass leaders bore the brunt of the Trinamool activists. Hours after the 2011 election results were declared, early in the morning of May 14, one teacher was cruelly beaten up and was murdered in front of his school in West Midnapore district. An atmosphere of terror was being created by the goons of Trinamool Congress and the attack on teachers continued for long. Teachers were physically assaulted and injured and some were forced to leave their home and school. Houses of some teachers were burnt and vandalised. Some were charged with false criminal cases and were taken into jail custody. Some were mentally harassed and some were charged with fines beginning from Rs 5,000 to Rs 2 lakh. Some were compelled to lead a life of confinement, isolated from the society. The landed properties of some teachers were forcibly taken away and some were forced to sell them in very cheap rate. Hundreds of teachers have left their home to save their lives. Even female teachers and those belonging to the minority communities, and anganwadi workers were heckled in several areas. A few teachers took shelter in the court of law to enter their schools. As all these were happening, the administration looked the other way. Not only the police administration but also the civil administration turned a deaf ear to the affected teachers. A very small number out of them are able to enter but others, despite the order of the high court, are not allowed to enter into their schools till now. The offices of ABPTA and other mass organisations in circle/zonal levels have been occupied forcibly by Trinamool supporters in some areas. An atmosphere of terrorism still prevails in the state. Members of Trinamool education cell visit schools and houses of teachers, along with political goons, and compel them to join the organisation. All levels of education beginning from school managing committees to District Primary School Councils are being brought under political influence. The managing committees and councils are running according to the instruction of the local TMC leaders. Local Trinamool leaders claim ‘percentage’ from development funds and money sanctioned under Mid-Day Meal Scheme. This is an attack on progressive and democratic forces which has been continuing. However, the teachers have resisted the outrage and are now trying to regain their unity and strength to uphold the human value and democracy. In this crucial period and abnormal situation, STFI has resolved to stand by their side.