Jalandhar, September 6: Punjab Education Minister OP Soni on Wednesday announced  the state government would reinstate teachers suspended over the past two years and FIRs lodged against them during that period would be withdrawn. Sources said the government was likely to withdraw FIRs against 7,000-8,000 teachers.

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Speaking at a function to award 51 teachers, Soni said, “We will reinstate all teachers suspended in the past two years. FIRs against them will also be withdrawn. The Education Secretary has been instructed in that regard.”

Most of the FIRs are against members of the Sanjha Adhyapak Morcha (SAM), an umbrella organisation of 26 unions representing over one lakh teachers in Punjab.

These were lodged against  500 teachers (five by name) during an agitation at Mohali on March 6 this year while 8,000 others were booked (20 by name) for protests in Ludhiana on March 25, 2018.

Five SAM leaders were suspended after a protest in Amritsar on July 27, 2018.

Director General School Eduaction (DGSE) Prashant Kumar Goyal clarified that FIRs related to protests alone would be cancelled and  not against those  facing personal or criminal charges. He said, “The department hasn’t yet made any estimate on the numbers of FIRs and suspensions. The process in this regard will be set in motion soon. The quashing of FIRs will be done as per the due procedure.”

Senior advocate PPS Ahluwalia said the government could not cancel FIRs in criminal cases but those related to protests could be withdrawn.

Didar Singh Mudki, state co-convener of the SAM and president of the SSA/RMSA Teachers Union, welcomed the government decision.

“Our agitation has been against the government’s insistence on reducing our pay scale to Rs 10,300 (basic pay) on regularisation. We will continue to protest till our demand that we be paid Rs 42,800 is met,” he said.

Source Tribune India

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