West Bengal Police remove TET-qualified candidates from protest site seeking jobs
The action came a day after the Calcutta High Court directed the police to ban large gatherings at the site.
The West Bengal Police on Friday cleared out the protest site of over 500 candidates demanding teaching jobs outside the head office of the West Bengal Board of Primary Education in Kolkata, PTI reported.
The action by the police came a day after the Calcutta High Court ordered imposing prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code at the protest site, according to The Indian Express. The order bans gathering of four or more persons in an area.
Videos from the protest showed agitators being forcefully taken away by the police in buses.
The candidates claim they had cleared the Teachers Eligibility Test, or TET exam, in 2014, and had also appeared for interviews before a panel constituted. They are demanding that they be given appointment letters for the teaching jobs immediately, according to The Indian Express.
However, the West Bengal Board of Primary Education says that the tenure of the panel has expired and the candidates would have to reappear for the examinations.
On Tuesday, 20 protestors had begun a hunger strike, saying that they would not appear in fresh examinations, according to PTI. Five of them were shifted to a hospital after they fell ill on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party criticised the ruling Trinamool Congress government on the incident.
Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari alleged that the police used “brutal force” against those protesting, adding that the situation in the state is alarming.
On Thursday, state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar had visited the protest site and expressed his solidarity with the candidates.
Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said that his government has no intention of crushing democratic protests, PTI reported.
“The protesters violated prohibitory orders and sat on a road before the board office,” he said. “Police had to lift them as the movement was disrupting normal life.”
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee refused to comment on the protest.
“I will not say anything on this,” she said, according to The Indian Express. “Whatever the issue, our Education Minister Bratya Basu will answer that. I have to respect the legitimate protestors.”