Arrested adhoc teachers make bail

Gangtok, 20 Feb:

The four adhoc teachers taken into custody yesterday on charges of inciting and leading the adhoc teachers’ rally into blocking the national highway on Monday were released on bail this afternoon. This, after a daylong to and fro on the issue which has pulled in more organizations into the protest. The adhoc teachers have been demanding service regularization and continuation of service and are not satisfied with the HRDD notification issued on Monday in response to their demands.

The four teachers – Yogesh Sharma, Wangdi Tshering Bhutia, Rajesh Dahal and Prakash Parajuli – were taken into custody late yesterday evening when they had gone to the Sadar Police Station to file a complaint against some comments being made about them on social media.

They were arrested based on an FIR filed by the ADC [East] alleging their involvement in the highway blockade by adhoc teachers on Monday.

As news of the arrest spread, adhoc teachers started gathering at MG Marg last night itself and after meeting there again this morning, marched to the Sadar PS demanding that the FIR be withdrawn and their colleagues released.

Although there was some tension initially, the confrontation never got out of hand even as the number of adhoc teachers picketing the Sadar PS grew through the day.

The demand for the FIR to be withdrawn was clarified by the Sadar personnel as a matter which was not in their hands and something that could only be settled in the Court. Even as the teachers remained insistent, a group went to meet the ADC with the same demand while members of the Sikkim Teachers’ Association also arrived at the spot and offered to meet HRDD officials to clarify the doubts the protesting teachers had vis a vis the notification.

Later in the day, the Judicial Magistrate, East, turned down the police request for judicial custody and directed that the four teachers be released upon them producing independent/ individual, reliable and cogent sureties.

The four emerged from the Sadar PS to a strong welcome from their colleagues who had remained outside the thana through the day.