As far as popular belief is concerned, getting a government job is the ticket to a life of security. No wonder the 134 clerks who were recruited by the Punjab School Education Board were so happy. However, the change of government set loose a cruel chain of events, with the clerks being summarily dismissed in 2003. Capt Amarinder Singh was Chief Minister of Punjab at the time. Innumerable protests and repeated visits to authorities were futile. When it came down to brass tacks, all the 134 people could do little more than watch their lives unravel. The current agitation in front of the Punjab School Education Board office is just a nuisance for those in power.
Ram Singh is one of the 134 people who lost their jobs that fateful day. The physically challenged man was the only earning member of the family. Ram Singh is at the forefront of the agitation in front of the PSEB office and he says he won’t go home till the end.
Kuldeep Kaur is battling with a stomach tumor, a weak heart and official insensitivity. All seem to complement each other. For the most part, survival feels like a luxury.
The agitators depend on the gurdwara nearby for food. Years of struggle have pushed them into an abyss of despair. Many are suicidal.
One of the agitators, Jagwinder Singh, has been on hunger strike for the past 27 days. With his condition worsening by the hour, police rushed him to hospital. But from where Jagwinder sees it, he has nothing to lose anymore.
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