Friday, March 24, 2017

Mizoram Hindi teachers begin another round of fight for their rights

By Paritosh Chakma

Hundreds of Hindi teachers recruited under the Central Sponsored Scheme (CSS) in Mizoram have once again gathered at a place in the heart of Aizawl and launched another round of indefinite hunger strike from the midnight of 22 March 2017 demanding regularization of their jobs. A total of 1305 CSS Hindi teachers have not been paid their salaries for the last 10 months i.e. upto February 2017 when their employment contracts expired.

Their organization, Mizoram CSS Hindi Teachers Association (MCHTA), has claimed that at least 17 Hindi  teachers have died in the last several months due to their inability to afford treatment due to non-payment of salaries. The MCHTA has put up a list of 15 of their deceased colleagues on the wall of the CM's Bungalow.





At the time of writing this report, a total of 107 Hindi teachers are being attended by doctors after their health deteriorated for not taking food. At least six teachers have been hospitalized and a pregnant lady has reportedly suffered miscarriage during the protest fasting.

The Hindi teachers are resolute to carry on their indefinite hunger strike. It is pity to see the visuals of their sufferings and certainly Mizoram government and Govt of India should look into their demands and fulfill them without lose of time. 












Background:

For those new to this issue, a background report is available here: http://paritosh-chakma.blogspot.in/2017/02/government-of-india-listen-to-heartbeat.html


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Court of Inquiry demanded into unnatural death of Assam Rifles jawan, Kamal Mitra Chakma from Mizoram

Probe plea into death of jawan, The Telegraph, Kolkata, 19th March 2017

A Staff Reporter
Guwahati, March 18: The All India Chakma Social Forum, an organisation working for rights of Chakmas, today urged the Union home ministry to conduct an impartial inquiry into the "custodial killing" of Kamal Mitra Chakma, a rifleman of 36 Assam Rifles posted at Jalaki in Nagaland.

In a statement today, Victor Talukdar, deputy secretary-general of the forum, alleged that Chakma was brutally assaulted at his battalion headquarters in Jalaki when he went to submit his leave application to go home to Mizoram on March 10. He was thrown outside the premises assuming that he was dead. Some people spotted him and handed him over to the Assam Rifles authorities who admitted him to Jorhat military hospital in Assam in a serious condition. He died today.

"Assam Rifles officials claimed that Chakma was injured after he fell from a building. But he did not have any head injuries but had broken bones in his leg, hand and thigh. He was lying unconscious outside the 36 Assam Rifles battalion headquarters which prove that his injuries were not due to a fall. His parents told us that Chakma told them that he was beaten up by his colleagues," Talukdar claimed.

Assam Rifles officials could not be contacted for comment.


The forum demanded the post-mortem be conducted at a government hospital to ensure impartiality in the investigation and a court of inquiry be instituted by officials outside the Assam Rifles battalions in Nagaland.

x x x           xxx      xxx          xxx   


Also, read in "Chakma forum seeks inquiry into AR rifleman's death", The Times of India, Guwahati Edition, 19th March 2017 



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Government of India: Listen to the heartbeats of 1305 Hindi teachers of Mizoram


By Paritosh Chakma


It is painful to see how Hindi teachers recruited under Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) have been forced to go on “indefinite hunger strike” in the heart of Aizawl, capital city of Mizoram demanding immediate release of their pending 10 months' salaries and regularization of their jobs which have effectively expired today (28th February 2017). A total of 1305 Hindi CSS teachers recruited under “Scheme of Financial Assistance for Appointment and Training of Hindi Teachers in Non-Hindi Speaking States/UTs”, under which Central government pays the salaries, are uncertain about their future. Their jobs are hanging in balance because the scheme’s guidelines state that after the Plan year (currently, 12th Five Year Plan, 2012-17) the responsibility of maintenance of these Hindi teachers “shall rest upon the concerned State Governments/UT Administrations. They will be required to discharge this responsibility out of their own resources in their budget.”



Mizoram Hindi teachers staging indefinite hunger strike at Aizawl




While the State government of Mizoram has been so far non-committal to regularize their services, the Central government has not released salaries to them for ten months now! To make the matter worst, the Central government apparently has appointed recently a private institution Awadh Research Foundation based in Lucknow to evaluate the need of the scheme in Mizoram and any further decision will be based on the recommendations of this research institute.

Since 22 February, the Mizoram Hindi Teachers Association members have been forced to resort to “Pen Down Strike”, which included boycott of classes and annual exam, and took to the streets of Aizawl demanding just decisions from the governments, i.e. to regularize/extend their services, and payment of their salaries. Left with no other option, they launched indefinite hunger strike in front of the Chief Minister’s office cum residence from yesterday.

It is unclear as to why the Ministry of Human Resources Development has not released their salaries, as no official statement in this regard has been issued by the Ministry. It is also not clear as to why the evaluation of the scheme was not done much earlier, say in 2016, which could have avoided the situation of uncertainty and chaos as we are seeing today.

However, the answer may be found in the fact that it is not the CSS Hindi teachers alone who have not been paid for months. Almost 2,200 Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) teachers (which is also a Centrally Sponsored Scheme) across Mizoram have not been paid their monthly salaries since August 2016, as per a report by The Frontier Despatch, a local English weekly, dated 19th January 2017. These teachers who are able-bodied men and women employed by the Government are forced to rely on parents and relatives even for pocket money, not to mention for basic necessities and, in some cases,  for their ill children’s medicines. (Read, What it’s like to be an SSA teacher, The Frontier Despatch, 19 January 2017 )

It painfully appears that the government - both Centre and State - has been neglecting our teachers, which is not a healthy sign in our society.


Hindi teachers protesting in Aizawl


Hindi teachers protesting in Aizawl


Hindi teachers protesting in Aizawl


Hindi teachers protesting in Aizawl


Hindi teachers protesting in Aizawl



There is no doubt that the teaching of Hindi in the schools and colleges is extremely important for a North Eastern state like Mizoram where Hindi is little understood by the people. Hindi can ensure better communications between ethnic communities, ensure social progress, national integration and boost tourism in the state. Hindi can be a tool for empowerment to the population of the state by eradicating feeling of alienation from the mainstream, which is strong among the people of Mizoram, and help the ethnic communities linguistically when they are living outside the state (particularly North India, Hindi belt) for education, jobs and businesses etc and within the state.

Therefore, the Central government must continue the “Scheme of Financial Assistance for Appointment and Training of Hindi Teachers in Non-Hindi Speaking States/UTs” in Mizoram and extend the employment of these 1305 Hindi teachers without lose of time.

And, the healing process should start immediately by paying their salaries due for 10 months. The government of India, if truly a people's government, must listen to the heartbeats of these 1305 Hindi teachers of Mizoram.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Take Action: Build a bridge on Karnafuli river (Demagiri, Mizoram)

Demagiri, or Tlabung, in Western Mizoram near to the India-Bangladesh border, is a British era village (now a sub town). The British had set up their foremost frontier post here during the Lushai Expedition in 1871-72 and finally annexed the Lushai hills in 1890s. Demagiri was the gateway of British conquest of Lushai hills (present day Mizoram) and Lt Col TH Lewin had set up his headquarters here. The British came to conquer Lushai hills through the Karnafuli river, also known to Chakmas as Borgang, over which the mighty Kaptai Dam was built by the East Pakistan government in 1960s.  

Tragically, as of date there is no bridge over the Karnafuli river. The river which has swollen due to the Kaptai Dam waters, divides Indian villages and as many as 17 Indian villages, predominantly inhabited by Chakma tribal people, are on the other side of the river (bordering Bangladesh). An estimate stated that around 7,000 people live on the other side of the Karnafuli river. 

The villages which are situated on the other side of the Karnafuli river are (1) Nunsury I, (2) Nunsury II, (3) Bindiasora, (4) Tablabagh I, (5) Tablabagh II, (6) Tablabagh III, (7) Kalapani, (8) Lokkisury, (9) Malsury, (10) Devasora, (11) Puankhai, (12) Nakruksora, (13) Bandiasora, (14) New Balukiasuri, (15) Saichen, (16) Hmundo and (17) Mauzam.


Due to lack of a bridge over the Karnafuli river which according to me is one of the biggest rivers of Mizoram, flowing into Bangladesh, these border people are facing untold sufferings and remained disconnected with the rest of India.


Every day, dozens of tribal school children from the other side of the river put their lives at risk while crossing the fearful river of Karnafuli by small boats to come to schools at Demagiri (Tlabung) which is on the opposite side of the river (Indian side). (See the photograph of school children dangerously crossing the Karnafuli river by small boat at the risk of their lives while going to school.)

The only civil hospital is also situated at Demagiri which is inaccessible to the border people living on the other side of the river. In the absence of a bridge over the Karnafuli river, the villagers are forced to take motor boats which are quite expensive for the impoverished villagers. Lack of ability to pay the ferry charges directly result in denial of access to markets, banking and post office, schools, and communication facilities etc.


If a bridge is constructed over the Karnafuli river, the border inhabitants of these villages shall be uplifted not only economically in terms of access to markets and business but also in terms of access to education, health services, and other social welfare facilities. 


Above all, a bridge over the Karnafuli river will restore freedom of movement of these Indian citizens within their country from which they have been tragically deprived in independent India.

Therefore, the Government of India/Government of Mizoram should take urgent measures to build a bridge over the Karnafuli river at Demagiri.
  

Friday, October 28, 2016

AICSU performs at North East students festival in Delhi

On 22 October, 2016, the cultural troupe of the All India Chakma Students Union (AICSU) performed at the NESt Fest (North East Students Festival) programme organized by My Home India at 8, Ashoka Road, New Delhi.










Dance Video:


The full HD video of the Chakma dance is available at AICSU's official Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3C9JYYm_1dk&feature=youtu.be