Karachi: Tear Gas Shells Fired at Rally of Education Dept Employees
KARACHI, Feb 18: Police fired tear gas and resorted to a baton charge to disperse dozens of contractual employees of the Sindh education department when they attempted to march on the Chief Minister’s House on a second consecutive day, officials and witnesses said.
The non-teaching employees claimed that the Thursday episode was repeated on Friday because ‘the authorities refused to pay heed to their request’ for payment of their dues and getting their jobs regularized.
When the employees, who have set up a protest camp outside the Karachi Press Club, again attempted to march on the CM’s House riot police moved in. After oneand-a-half-hours heated arguments between the two sides, the protesters finally scuffled with the law-enforcers that led to tear gas shelling, the police said.
The situation caused traffic jams on Aiwan-i-Saddar Road, Deen Mohammad Wafai Road, Sarwar Shaheed Road and part of Abdullah Haroon Road.
The police also detained more than a dozen protesters, who were later released on the intervention of senior government officials.
However, president of the All-Sindh Education Department Lower Staff Association Darya Khan claimed: “We were peaceful and calm but the government used brutal police force to spoil our protest campaign. Nearly a dozen of our colleagues suffered serious injuries due to police action. We only wanted to meet the senior officials at the CM’s House who promised us a solution to our problem but it has been more than 48 hours, we have not witnessed any move.” On Thursday, riot police resorted to a baton charge and used their water cannon to break up the protest rally staged by the contractual employees.
The protesters most of whom had come from the interior of Sindh were seeking permanent employment in the education department as was promised by the previous government. The protesting employees were employed in pay-scales one to four and were serving mostly as peons, gardeners and watchmen in hundreds of government schools across the province.
“A few protesters even attacked the policemen in uniform who tried to stop them from moving forward under the defined rules that were conveyed to their leaders,” said SSP Irshad Ali Raza of the Saddar Town. Despite agreement between the police authorities and the leaders of the protesting employees, he said, a few of them insisted to defy the law that triggered the police action.
Summary moved A spokesman for the Sindh education department said on Friday that a summary for the regularization of services of all contractual employees of the department had been sent to the chief minister for his perusal and approval.
“As soon as the summary is approved, the service of the contractual employees of the education department will be regularised on priority but only after verification of their educational documents as a number of contractual employees who were appointed during the tenure of former CM Dr Arbab Rahim, possessed fake documents,” he said, adding that legal action would be initiated against all the non-teaching employees whose documents were found fake.
According to the president of the All Sindh Education Lower Staff Association, more than 2,000 non-teaching contractual employees were appointed in 2007 by the then government on a four-year contract with a promise that their services would be regularized within six months. However, he said, the education department neither regularized their services nor extended their contracts, besides most of the employees had not been paid salaries for the last three months.