Death becomes the standard threat in Punjab

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Old 26-May-2010
Death becomes the standard threat in Punjab

KAPURTHALA: In a series of events that underlined the total lack of imagination and the bankruptcy of ideas within the government, groups of protesters had been holding district administration at one on the other place to ransom by issuing threats of self immolation.
Days after a teacher in Kapurthala immolated herself and died, a large number of teachers who have been demanding jobs from the Punjab government, had been issuing threats that they will commit suicide if the government did not act quickly on their demands. Only last Wednesday, some 80 unemployed protesters with Elementary Teachers Training (ETT) actually carried bottles of kerosene oil and petrol in their hands and threatened to set themselves afire.
Highly worried officials of the police, health and education departments besides the executive magistrate and mediapersons watched even as the agitating teachers carrying bottles of petrol threatened to end their lives. They were protesting against the efforts by the police and officials to carry away one of the protesters, Harjit Kaur, who was on "fast unto death".
She was finally removed to hospital even as her condition deteriorated. But as the teachers threatened to set themselves on fire, the police was forced to release the woman who quickly joined back the protests. So much so that the protesting teachers even produced a handwritten undertaking from the parents of the woman that said that they will have no objection even if she died as a result of the fast.
While on the one hand it shows the utter desperateness of the teachers, it also explodes the myth of the favourite slogan of Punjab politicians who are never tired of claiming that they want to turn Punjab into California.

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