Pushing veggie carts, Karnataka’s private school teachers show how they survived the pandemic

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Thousands of private unaided school teachers from across the state descended in Bengaluru on Wednesday to protest over a slew of demands. They took out a rally from Maurya Circle to Freedom Park, catching the attention of the state government.
Unlike the usual protests that blocked traffic at the Central Business District (CBD), the teachers’ rally was innovative. They pushed carts with fruits and vegetables and posed as marketing executives to indicate their plight as their schools failed to pay salaries during the pandemic.
Some of them held aloft placards saying they have been forced to work as security guards, delivery boys and marketing agents since April as the pandemic forced the schools to close. The protest had been led by the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka.
“I had no option but to sell vegetables and fruits on the street as the schools remained closed and the management was unable to pay salaries,” said a protesting teacher. Another teacher said: “I’m working as a farm laborer in my hometown. I don’t think I’ll get back to teaching.”
While the government announced an economic package for auto and cab drivers, it completely ignored the teachers, complained a protector.

‘Nothing for us’

“We, too, have families and responsibilities to fulfill,” said the teacher. “Many of us are struggling to earn our daily bread.” Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Revenue Minister R. Ashoka visited the protesting teachers following instructions from the Chief Minister and promised them help. This prompted teachers to call off the strike.


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