The agitating ad hoc teachers, on July 2, condemned the government’s remark that they have some “hidden agenda” behind not calling off their ongoing, indefinite sitting despite the assurance that the government will take a call on their demands in the next cabinet meeting.
“We have decided to continue with the agitation and we condemn the remarks of Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong that there is a hidden agenda. We also want to send him a clear message that the only agenda that we have is the enhancement of our salaries and 5 per cent yearly increment,” said Mayborn Lyngdoh, spokesperson of the Federation of School Teachers of Meghalaya (FASToM), under which banner the teachers are agitating.
The protesting teachers yet again outrightly rejected the request of the government to call off their sit-in, saying that they are determined to carry on with their protest, which entered the fifth day on July 2, until the government fulfils their demand.
“We will sit here and wait,” was the univocal reply that the teachers gave when Lyngdoh sought their views on the government’s assurance to take a final call on their demand in the next cabinet meeting.
Raising their hands in the air as a sign of their strong determination to continue with their sit-in, the teachers also informed that they have received overwhelming support from people from all walks of life including political leaders and pressure groups.
Lyngdoh said this is because everyone is aware that “we are protesting for our rights”. He further informed that the protesting teachers in Shillong have received a similar responses from their fellow colleagues in Tura, West Garo Hills District and they too will intensify their agitation till the government is ready to fulfil their demands.
Earlier on July 1, Tynsong, post a meeting with a delegation of the teachers, had said that he had requested them to call off their protest and assured them that the government will take a final call on their demands in the next cabinet meeting and if they continue with their protest despite the government assurance, it implies that they have some hidden agenda. The Deputy Chief Minister had also informed that the government gave the protesters a clear-cut assurance that it will enhance the lump sum grant to such government-aided schools.
Meanwhile, Lyngdoh further added that the delegation of FASToM had already conveyed to the deputy chief minister that calling off the protest will depend on the collective decision of the ad hoc teachers.