A literacy worker in Kerala, ES Bijumon allegedly died by suicide in Pathanapuram in Kollam district of the state reportedly over non-payment of salaries to preraks. Bijumon had been associated with the Kerala Sakshartha Prerak Association for more than 20 years. The preraks (literacy workers) of the organisation were protesting outside the Secretariat for the last 82 days alleging non-payment of salaries for the last six months.
The 49-year-old, a Block-level literacy prerak was a recipient of the President’s award for best literacy prerak. State Saksharata Prerak Association State Secretary AA Santhosh told the mediapersons that workers were on an indefinite strike for the last 82 days.
“The workers have been working for the department since 2009. In 2017, they were transferred from the public education department to the local self-government department. Since then, not just their salaries have been reduced, but also they are not getting regular salaries,” he said. The Association State Secretary also said that now they are demanding the intervention of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the issue.
“The state government also issued an order in this regard for utilising the services of preraks in the local body department, but it could not be implemented as the finance department and local body department were on two opinions. Now we are demanding the intervention from the Chief Minister,” he added. The Kerala Saksharatha Preraks Association District Secretary Sheerja said “Bijimon used to say that if someone gets ‘martyred’, only then we will be getting justice. He was in a serious financial crisis, and is survived by two sisters and an old mother.”