Archit Watts, Tribune News Service
Gidderbaha, December 7. Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) teachers, mostly women, were manhandled by the police when they gheraoed Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s convoy at Sukhna Ablu village in Muktsar district today.
The incident took place soon after an “unsuccessful” meeting of the EGS teachers’ delegation with the CM at the Government High School in the village, where he held a Sangat Darshan programme.
Accusing the CM of showing dillydallying attitude towards the demands of employment and stern action against the Akali Sarpanch Balwinder Singh “Toti” of Daula village for slapping Varinder Kaur, one of their female colleagues, they blocked the main gate of the school to press for the acceptance of their demands.
Protesting teachers squatted on the road in front of the CM’s cavalcade and raised anti-establishment slogans.
Policemen were seen dragging female teachers by their hair and even hitting them with shoes in order to clear the way for the CM’s cavalcade. Two of the women protesters – Sarbjeet Kaur and Kiranjeet Kaur – were hit by a jammer vehicle of the CM’s convoy. The teachers were left to cry in pain.
Meanwhile, seeing the policemen beating up women teachers, a large number of passers-by rushed to rescue them.
Enraged villagers targeted Gidderbaha DSP Bhupinder Singh as he was leading the police posse assaulting the protesters. One of the villagers hurled shoe at him, hitting him on the neck. The DSP, however, denied this while speaking to media.
Immediately after the CM’s convoy left the village, police reinforcements were rushed in to bring the situation under control.
Varinder Kaur, who was slapped on Sunday by an Akali Sarpanch of Daula village, was again thrashed by cops. The protesters then blocked the Bathinda-Malout national highway (NH-15) at Husnar Chowk. Later, they took out a protest march in the city.
The teachers had threatened to immolate themselves in front of Chief Minister’s residence in Chandigarh tomorrow on the occasion of his birthday.
Talking over the phone, Inder Mohan Singh, SSP Muktsar said, “A case under sections 353, 186, 341, 323, 148 of the IPC has been registered against seven protesters. Six of them, including one women, have been arrested.”
DSP Bhupinder Singh, two female ASIs and a few constables sustained injuries, he added.