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Transfer cry after teacher killings

Ranchi, Aug. 11: Hundreds of teachers posted in remote areas of Gumla went on an indefinite strike today, raising security concerns and demanding that they be transferred after the recent kidnap and murder of a headmaster and his sister.

Local residents, along with agitating teachers, spilled on to NH-23, disrupting traffic on the main link between Ranchi and Chhattisgarh capital Raipur for the third consecutive day, even as police failed to make any headway in the double murders of Rukighat.

Apart from immediate arrest of the culprits involved in the abduction and killings of Prakash Toppo, a middle school headmaster, and his elder sister, Saroj Toppo, also a schoolteacher, the agitators also demanded measures to ensure security of teachers working in remote areas of the district.

Almost 500 out of the 1,500 teachers posted at primary and middle schools in remote areas sought postings in Gumla town, citing a threat to their life. They argued that even Prakash Toppo, who was abducted on August 6 and found dead two days later, had requested district superintendent of education Sachchidanand Tigga for a transfer.

Toppo, who was posted at Bansari village, had also approached Ghaghra police for help after local goons started demanding money and threatened to kill him if he did not pay up.

“But, his complaint was not taken seriously,” alleged a schoolteacher.

Under mounting pressure, deputy commissioner Veena Shrivastava formed a one-man committee comprising subdivisional officer A. Todde to look into the demands of the teachers. She promised appropriate action within 15 days.

“The agitating teachers have clubbed together all their long-standing demands ranging from promotions to posting. This is practically very difficult, but still we are ready to transfer all the teachers who are facing threats to their life from their current places of postings,” she told The Telegraph.

Shrivastava added that the administration was also examining the role of certain officials who did not take past complaints of teachers seriously.

The DC said the human resources development department should carefully consider demands of the agitating teachers. “Some minor disturbances were reported from Ghaghra area today but the administration took adequate measures. However, use of force is no solution under such circumstances,” she said.

When contacted, state human resources development minister Geetashree Oraon, who is from Gumla, said she had already asked senior officials to do the needful. “It is an unfortunate incident. We are trying our best to see that the agitating teachers resume work at the earliest,” she added.

The police, on the other hand, are yet to make any breakthrough in the case. “Investigation is on and we are pursuing the case carefully,” said Gumla SP Bheemsen Tuti.