The Meghalaya Government Lower Primary School Contractual Teachers’ Association (MGLPSCTA) on Friday has called-off its month-long stir, following a Supreme Court order directing the state government to permit these educators to retake the Meghalaya Teacher Eligibility Tests (MTET).
According to the MGLPSCTA President – Birbor Riangtem, “Despite our persistent protests, the state administration is adamant. There is nothing we can do but to call it off.”
Earlier in the day, the leaders of the association held a meeting with Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui, who indicated that it was unlikely that the educators would be reinstated, but assured to relax the age-limit for the teachers to reappear for MTET.
After meeting the teachers’ delegation, Rymbui claimed that he gave an explanation about the constraints and the government’s position with regard to the legal provisions. “Regularization is out of the question,” he said.
According to him, the government can only temporarily waive the age requirements for overaged contractual teachers, so they can participate in the MTET recruitment process.
Addressing the mediapersons, the teachers’ representatives requested him to find ways and means to regularise them, he said, “Anything beyond age relaxation will be contempt of court.”
Hearing writ petition (civil) number 193 of 2020, the Meghalaya High Court had in its order of October 5, 2020, said none of the petitioners is entitled to regularization.
Rymbui stated that the administration would first complete the roster system to facilitate the entry of 2,000-plus eligible youths.
Its worthy to note that hundreds of educators are fighting for job restoration under the auspices of the Meghalaya Government Lower Primary Contractual Teachers Association. More than 800 of them had their employment terminated two years prior due to their inability to pass the Meghalaya Teachers Eligibility Test (TET).
They have been staging their indefinite protest at Barik, about 200 meters away from the secretariat for the past one month.
The Association leader Birbor Riangtem earlier stated, “Our clear message to the government is if it wants us to call off this agitation, it should order reinstatement of our services as we want to go back to our schools.”
Riangtem condemned the “highhandedness of the police” in bursting tear gas shells. “Using tear gas is a violation of our human rights. We are not terrorists, we are teachers. We were marching peacefully but the police and district administration blocked us and started bursting tear gas shells despite being informed about the presence of our children and pregnant teachers”.
Its worthy to note that the incident occurred on Thursday afternoon, when the group of teachers under the banner of Meghalaya Government Lower Primary School Contractual Teachers’ Association (MGLPSCTA) alongwith their family members, including pregnant women and children; commenced their march from Kiang Nangbah Monument to Secretariat.
However, as they approached near the secretariat, the police lobbed three tear-gas shells at the agitating teachers to prevent them from staging protest outside the gate of state secretariat.
Responding to the tragic move, the Voice of People Party (VPP) on Thursday demanded the resignation of Meghalaya’s Home Minister – Lahkmen Rymbui, who also serves as the Minister-in-charge of state Education Department.