IAS officer's move to 'discipline' teachers irks MLCs

A post by Social Welfare Secretary P Manivannan on a messenger group instructing officers to suspend teachers of Morarji Desai residential schools who go on strike, came in for criticism by members of Legislative Council on Monday.

Arun Shahapur (BJP) said teachers of Morarji Desai and Kittur Rani Chennamma residential schools had held a protest at Freedom Park in Bengaluru in support of their various demands. The protest was peaceful. Still, Manivannan posted a message on Telegram Messenger group of the department directing his officers to take video of those who participate in the strike, check their attendance and suspend them. The post further states that the department can run the schools by utilising the services of guest lecturers. “With Rs 12,000 salary we will get good teachers,” the post states, a printout of which was circulated by Shahapur.

Ganesh Karnik (BJP), Basavaraj Horatti (JD-S), N Sharanappa Mattur (Cong) criticised Manivannan’s attitude. “This is dictatorship. The teachers have every right to put forth their demand,” they said.
Mattur said the department’s crackdown on the teachers was in violation of Article 19 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech.

Social Welfare Minister H Anjaneya said Manivannan might have posted the instruction out of concern for students, fearing they will lose out on classes. The minister, on the insistence of members, said the instruction will be withdrawn and will not be implemented.

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