Police use water cannons against protesters; arrest teachers during police action
KARACHI: Karachi police on Monday fired water cannon and resorted to baton-charge and tear-gas to prevent protesting teachers from moving towards the Chief Minister’s House to lodge their protest, according to officials and representatives of the protesters.
The teachers were protesting for the fulfillment of a host of their demands, some of which were already agreed to by the provincial authorities. As teachers arrived at the scheduled time at the Karachi Press Club and tried to proceed onwards, the police already deployed at all surrounding roads baton-charged them, fired tear gas shells and used water cannon, causing injuries to some protesting teachers.
During the police action, scores of the protesters were also detained. Earlier, the authorities concerned had invited the teachers for the talks at the Commissioner’s Office where both the parties failed to agree on a resolution of the issues. Senior officials said that the teachers ‘compelled’ the police to take action as they were protesting in the Red Zone where such rallies have been banned by the provincial government.
They said that the police mainly relied on the use of water cannon to disperse the teachers. However, when they allegedly attacked the policemen with stones and tried to damage their mobile vans, the police were forced to resort to baton-charge and fire tear gas, they said and confirmed that around 20 to 25 teachers were detained.
All Sindh Primary Teachers Association leader Javed Ahmed said that he along with around 80 teachers have been detained at the Artillery Maidan Police Station alone, while several other teachers have been detained at other police stations. He said that they have started their march for fulfillment of their 16-point demands, some of which have already been agreed to by the provincial authorities but are not being implemented.
The march started from the mausoleum of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai in Bhit Shah on December 10, and after passing through various cities arrived at the KPC on Monday. Javed Ahmed said that two officials from the District South administration approached them for talks, to which they agreed. He said that he along with four other office-bearers held talks with the commissioner while education special secretary was also present there.
Regarding future line of action, the teachers’ leader said they have decided to hold a hunger strike at the KPC until their demands were fulfilled. Some of the demands pertain to promotion of the teachers to Grade-16 scale, regularisation of the services of the contract teachers and of teachers who have passed NTS tests.
In 2014, the Sindh government had agreed to grant them Grade-16 scale but it has not been implemented so far due to unknown reasons, according to the All Sindh Primary Teachers Association.