By Express News Service

KOLKATA: Five female teachers attached to child education centres attempted suicide by consuming poison while staging a demonstration on Tuesday in Salt Lake, Kolkata, protesting against their transfer orders. 

All of them were admitted to two state-run hospitals. Their condition was stated to be stable.

Police said the incident took place when the demonstrators tried to enter Bikash Bhavan, a building that houses the office of the education department, and cops resisted them. As the cops initiated a process of arresting the five teachers on a contractual basis, they took out poisonous substances and consumed it.

“We are yet to identify the substance that they consumed. Samples have been sent for forensic examination. It seems, they consumed pesticide,” said the police officer.

The United Forum of Teachers alleged that the five teachers were transferred to north Bengal because they were leading movements in favour of contractual teachers’ demands which include permanent job status and hike in pay structure.   

“A few days ago, the teachers of child education centre, also known as Shishu Shiksha Kendra (SSK), staged a demonstration in front of the state secretariat and residence of education minister Bratya Basu. The five teachers led the two events and this is why they have been transferred to the other end of the state,” alleged a member of the forum.

The five teachers were identified as Shikha Das, Jyotsna Tudu, Putul Jana, Chobi Das and Anima Nath.

“At a time when the state government is talking about giving teachers posting near their home-town, the transfer of these teachers were unfortunate. It is clear that they have been given this punishment because of their role in raising legitimate demand for the contractual teachers,” said another member of the forum.”TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh, without naming the BJP, said a political party instigated the teachers to take such step which is unfortunate.

The BJP, however, said the incident was a fall out of the state government’s failure to address the teachers’ issues.