'Shave head' protest by MP teachers costs them Rs 1.4 lakh

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Bhopal, Jan 16: The Madhya Pradesh school teachers, including women, who got their heads shaved as part of their protest demanding equal wage for all, had to pay up Rs 1.4 lakh as the rent of the protest ground. The teachers had staged the protest under the banner of Azad Adhyapak Sangh on Saturday in Jamboorie Ground here, which is owned by the Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), and both men and women protestors had their heads shaved. The government drew flak as the issue came to light after the pictures of receipts of rent paid by the Sangh went viral in the social media on Monday. "There is a fixed charge which one has to pay for holding any programme in the Jamboorie Ground. The Adhyapak Sangh also paid that much only," Public Relations Officer Vinodanand Jha told IANS on Monday. Condemning the collection of fee from teachers, secretary of the state Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Badal Saroj said it was the right of teachers to lodge their protest, and charging fee from them was "strangulation of democracy". "On the orders of the state government, the Bhopal district administration did not provide any place to the teachers for their protest. The teachers were later told to go to the Jamboorie Ground. Now they have charged for this," he said. Saroj said the government had failed on all fronts and now it was trying to restrict even protest marches and strikes, he added. "This type of dictatorship should be stopped. The money collected from the teachers should be returned to them," said the CPI-M leader.