Imphal: Madrasa teachers from Manipur have threatened to intensify their agitation, including if needed, self immolation, if the state government failed to clear before Eid-ul-Zuha – on October 6 – their salaries pending for 18 months. Several Muslim civil society organization have stepped in for the cause too.
Around 100-odd teachers had staged a dharna right outside the Chief Minister’s bungalow on October 1, however, the police promptly dispersed the gathering. Scores of civil society organizations that came up in support of these harassed teachers gathered at the office of the Wakf Board, Manipur at Hafiz Hatta on October 2 and locked down the office.
“If the government fails to release our salaries, pending for 18 months, by October 4, the Muslim civil society organizations would be forced to take up intense agitation. We had met the chairperson and other officials of the Wakf Board earlier, but there was no positive response,” Abdul Yasir, president of the Pangal Students’ Organization told media persons.
“This is an attempt to close down the madrassas,” he added.
Along with Pangal Students’ Organisation, a number of Muslim civil society organizations have extended support to the madrasa teachers’ agitation. These include Pangal Students’ Organization, Manipur Muslim Welfare Organization, United Manipur Muslim Women’s Organization and All Manipur Organization Co-Ordinating Committee.
Md. Arshad Ali, president of All Manipur Madrasa Modernization Teachers Welfare Association, alleged that the authorities concerned are all aware of the issue despite which no steps have been taken to find a solution. “As a result of the non-payment of salary for more than a year, the teachers have been suffering immensely. We want our dues before October 6, so that we can celebrate the festival,” Ali said.
If the state government and the Wakf Board of Manipur failed to take any concrete steps to clear the pending salaries, then the teachers’ body will take up intense agitation, including self-immolation, Ali had told a press conference at Minuthong Zoumi Villa last week.
Ali informed that the state government, under the Wakf Board, Manipur, had recruited 150 teachers of different subjects, including English, Mathematics and Science, for 30 madrasas under the Madrasa Modernization Scheme as part of the Prime Minister’s 15-point programme in November 2011. The Wakf Board, Manipur had processed the recruitment of the Madrasa teachers. Five teachers each have been taking class at 30 Madrassas. These teachers received salary till March 2013, after which the government stopped paying salary to them.
Wakf Board, Manipur, Manipur State Haj Committee and Manipur State Minorities Commission come under the Department of Minorities and Other Backward Classes (MOBC). Chief Minister, O. Ibobi Singh is in-charge of Department of MOBC, while Md. Amin Shah is the Parliamentary Secretary of the Department. MLA Md. Fajur Rahim is the Chairperson of Wakf Board, Manipur.