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Video: HP Cabinet Minister Mahender Singh Ridicules Teachers, Lands in Warm Waters, Teaching Community Demands Apology

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Shimla-Jal Shakti Minister, Mahender Singh’s controversial statement on teachers has landed him in hot waters. A video of his statement ridiculing teachers also going viral on social media.

The statement came at a time when the BJP’s national chief, Jai Prakash Nadda, is on a visit to Himachal Pradesh to gauge the pulse of the candidate for the three upcoming by-elections. 

The teachers and academic community on Sunday erupted in anger against Mahender Singh’s statement. Members of various associations of teachers said the statement would create widespread acrimony towards teachers.

Reportedly, the Cabinet Minister was addressing a gathering at Banjar, Kullu district, on Saturday. While admiring his ministry for keep working during the pandemic, Mahender Singh was heard saying that most officers only enjoyed their time during lockdowns, especially the teachers, he said, “enjoyed the most”.

Further, what ruffled the feathers was his mocking teachers for being declared front-line workers.

“The teachers enjoyed the most, and now they became front-line workers so that they could get vaccinated first. God knows what work they did,” the Minister said. 

The gathering can be heard bursting into laughter at this statement. Earlier, during his address, the Minister was heard boasting about his experience, which he said, would be more than the age of several bureaucrats serving in the government.  

On Sunday, clips of this statement got widely circulated on social media, following which association of teachers and academics erupted in anger and issued statements with stern warming to apologize and take back the statement or face the heat from the community.

The members of these associations also held a video conference to deliberate over this contentious statement and made a call to the entire teaching community to join hands to make the Minister apologize for insulting the teachers and alleging that they did nothing but only enjoyed their time.

The President of Himachal Government Teachers Union, Naresh Mahajan issued a statement condemning the comments passed by the Minister and a senior politician.

The President of the Himachal Pradesh Primary Teachers Federation, Hemaraj Thakur, also replied to the comment of the Minister and described how teachers made “Har Ghar Pathshala Scheme” a success despite the fact that the government schools weren’t ready to switch to online at all. 

Dr Manoj Shail of the Sanskirt Teachers Council, organized a video conference in which various teachers and members of teaching associations deliberated over the incident. Himachal Watcher has complied a video with the comments passed by the HP Cabinet Minister and replies of representatives of the teaching community.  (Scroll Down for Video) 

In this conference, the representatives described how, without any complaint, they spent from their own pockets for basic equipment, like tripod, green board, and to buy better smartphones to execute online teaching.  There are several teachers who provided smartphones to students from economically weak background and took care of expanses on their recharge so that they do not remain deprived from online classes.  They said the Minister’s comments show that he doesn’t have any clue on how the Education Department has been working. 

They clarified the widespread misconception that teachers were on paid vacations as the schools remained closed. They said its difficult to teach students online with same efficiency which can be achieved through offline classes in schools. 

Further, teachers have contracted infection while performing these duties and one of them even sacrificed his life, they said. 

The representatives listed various jobs which were entrusted to them by the state government from time to time, including duty on state boarders/barriers and elections to the Urban Bodies and Panchayats held in April amid the pandemic. 

To listen to the complete replies and reactions of teachers, watch the video below: 

 

 

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

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Shimla Police Nabs Escaped Murder Accused from Tara Devi Forest After Two Days

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Shimla Police has nabbed the undertrial accused of murder who had escaped from the custody of policemen on Wednesday. The accused was re-captured from the forests near the Tara Devi temple after a search operation of two days. The teams of police used drone cameras and search dogs in this search operation.

On November 17, 2021, Dadi Ram aka Sagar (37) – a Nepalese who was booked for the rape and murder of his mother-in-law on July 31, 2020, in Theog, Shimla district, and was kept at the Model Central Jail Kanda – had ditched two policemen near Tavi mod (curve) while he was being taken to the court for a hearing. He had jumped down the forest and was at large since then.

CCTV footage from a nearby building had also appeared in which the accused was seen escaping the custody of policemen. The incident had drawn flak for the Shimla Police, and several questions were raised on the working of the police. The people raised various questions; like why a murder accused was not handcuffed? Why the police didn’t use a vehicle to take him to court?

According to the district police, after the accused escaped, teams of police from Boileauganj and other concerned police stations were formed and deployed in re-capturing him. The teams also included jawans from the 6th India Reserve Battalion and Rapid Action Force. Alongwith search operations in Forests around Taradevi and Shoghi, checking of buses and vehicles at barriers and trains was also conducted regularly.

As per the police, on November 19, 2021, the accused was spotted in the forest near Tara Devi through a drone camera. The teams of police cordoned the forest and searched for the accused. Eventually, the teams succeeded in capturing the accused. He has been brought to the Boileauganj police station.  

 

 

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Negligence of HP University in Mark-Sheet Evaluation Allegedly Costs One Year Loss to Student, HC Issues Notice to Varsity on PIL

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HP University pil in high court

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh University is again in the news after a student of Government College, Hamirpur, filed a Public Interest Litigation in the State High Court alleging loss of one year to his career due to negligence of the varsity in evaluating his answer sheet.

It’s pertinent to mention that, varsity administration, especially Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sikandar Kumar, is already under fire for allegedly tweaking rules to allow admission of his ward and wards of a couple of other officials to PhD by bypassing mandatory entrance exams/NET/JRF.

In the current case, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sabina issued notices to the Registrar and the Controller of Examination of  HP University, Shimla.

As per the petitioner, Keshav Singh, he was a student of B.Sc (Maths) in the Government College, Hamirpur, for the session 2017-2020. He appeared in the examination for the 5th semester in November 2019.  In February 2020, he appeared in IIT Jam and scored 40.33 marks out of 100 and became eligible to get admission in M.Sc(PG Course) NIT.

However, in June 2020, the results of the 5th semester were declared and he was given only 5 marks out of 70 in one of the subjects, due to which he could not get admission to the NIT.  He has further said that he had a good academic record and attempted most of the questions in this exam. He applied for rechecking of his paper.  After re-checking, 42 marks were enhanced and he scored 47 marks in that subject. But the re-evaluation result was declared after counselling for the M.Sc. By that time, all the seats were filled up and he couldn’t get an admission.

Though he again cleared the exam for  IIT Jam, 2021, the student alleged that the mental harassment and mental distress he faced was irreparable. He lost one year during the era of this cut-throat competition and thousands of people overtook him, he said. He also alleged that due to negligence of the respondent University, he remained deprived of investing his one year for making his career bright as he could not attend any counselling of IIT/NIT JAM and could not fill up any forms for any competitive exam. For this loss,  the varsity is liable to pay compensation to him, he pleaded.

The petitioner has prayed in the court to direct the respondents to pay him adequate compensation and to adopt a fair and proper manner of checking the answer sheets so that in the future no one faces the same situation as has been faced by him.

The HP High Court directed the respondents (varsity) to file their reply within three weeks and posted the matter for December 8, 2021.

 

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The Himalayan Expedition “Silk Route – Chapter Hatu” Trek & Run Competition Concludes Successfully

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Shimla-As a joint venture, ‘The Himalayan Expedition Silk Route’ – a new trek and run competition- was organized at Narkanda, Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh on 14th, November 2021. Organized by Adventure North, Kawasaki Advertisers, Deodar Cottage, and Homeland Himalaya; the inaugural event was entitled ‘Chapter Hatu’. During this first trek, the participants had to trek 4.5 km uphill to the Hatu Peak – at an altitude of 3400 meters. Followed by a downhill trek of 9 km for the Adventure category.

However, the competitive runners, including two girl athletes, had to run another 14 km to Khadarala to complete the race.

A total of 31 people, from children aged 8-years-old to senior citizens, participated in the inaugural leg.

hatu trek competition

The event was flagged off from the Sili Kandli at 8:19 am.

The race was organized in two categories; “Adventure” for the trekking enthusiasts and the “Competitive” category for the endurance challengers.

himalayan silk route chapter hatu

Along the entire route, 13 teams were available at hydration desks placed at every two kilometers. Also, a well-equipped ambulance with a medic team of three, including a female, was in place.

Rahul Beakta of Theog, Shimla, won the competition by completing 26.5 km in 2 hours 56 minutes. He was followed by Bappan, Shimla, and Captain Vineet Sharma, Kathlee Ghat. The entire competitive and adventure leg was completed successfully, without any injury.

winners of silk route trekking

“It was the first promotional event for a trek and run of 300 km to scale the old ‘Silk Route from Narkanda to Namgia (near China border)’ with a minimal carbon footprint. We plan the second chapter with an additional 60 km in 2022,” the organizers informed.

“This marathon goes through the apple belt of the mid-Sutlej region all along the silk route to Shipki La. Be a part of this heritage and run along the paths and trails of this lost era, ‘The Silk Route’, which has lost its prominence in the modern world, the organizers further added.

The second leg of The Himalaya Expedition is scheduled for October 2022.

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