CHANDIGARH: Agitating teachers in Punjab Wednesday observed a "black" Diwali and held protests at several places across the state over the government's refusal to regularise their jobs without a pay cut.
Donning black dresses and carrying placards, the teachers took out protest marches at various places, including Bathinda, Patiala, Ludhiana, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Mohali, Faridkot and Jalandhar.
The teachers are against the state government's decision to fix their monthly salary at Rs 15,000 during three years of probation period for regularisation of their services.
They are demanding regularisation with full pay.
At present, contractual teachers in the state are getting Rs 42,300 per month.
Shouted slogans against the Congress-led Punjab government, the teachers also blocked roads at a few places.
In Patiala, teachers clashed with police when they were approaching towards the residence of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
They were stopped at barricades installed near the house.
"We will continue with our stir till our demands are not met," said Sanjha Adhyapak Morcha's state committee member Bikramjit Singh.
The contractual teachers, under the banner of the Sanjha Adhyapak Morcha, have been holding a sit-in at Patiala, the chief minister's constituency, in support of their demands since October 7.
On October 3, the Punjab cabinet had given its go-ahead to the regularisation of the services of 8,886 teachers recruited under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), as well as in adarsh and model schools.
However, those whose services would be regularised in school education department would be paid Rs 15,000 for first three years.