Hundreds of job aspirants who had been staging a protest since Monday outside the office of West Bengal Board of Primary Education (WBBPE) in Kolkata’s Salt Lake area on Tuesday stepped up the heat on the West Bengal government by going on a hunger strike.
The job seekers, who cleared the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) in 2014, have been protesting for over thirty hours at the same venue. On Tuesday the students raised slogans, lied on the thoroughfare, and threw food and water on the road announcing that they were going on a hunger strike. There was heavy deployment of police who made announcements urging the protesters to clear the road. The protesters, while citing irregularities in the recruitment process, are demanding that they be given appointment in the State-run schools.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee evaded any direct response on the protests and said that she would not comment on a sub-judice matter. Meanwhile the representatives of WBBPE education said that the demands of the protesting job seekers were unjustified, “They have participated twice in the recruitment process. They do not want to go through any process now. They do not think that they should appear for an interview. The primary education board thinks that their demands are not justified,” Gautam Pal, WBBPE chairperson said. Recently WBPPE started the recruitment process for 11,000 posts and urged all the protesting job seekers to apply.
Over the past several months politics in the State had been on a boil over the irregularities in the recruitment process carried out in the State-run school. Former State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee and half a dozen officials including the official’s former chairperson of WBBPE Manik Bhattacharya are behind bars for their alleged involvement in the scam. Various groups of job seekers who in the past had appeared in the recruitment process have been protesting at different places demanding jobs in the State-run schools. The job seekers have been protesting near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Mayo Road and also near Matangini Hazra statue in Kolkata’s Esplanade area.
Members of political parties in the Opposition have expressed their solidarity with the protest. On Tuesday, representatives of the youth and student wing of the Communist Party of India ( Marxist) met the protesting job seekers at Salt Lake.
“They have participated twice in the recruitment process”Gautam PalWBBPE chairperson