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5,000 lose jobs in bribery racket

INDIA

NEARLY 5,000 primary teachers in the state of Assam have been sacked because an official allegedly faked their clearance to work.

The appointment letters for the teachers in Nalbari district were issued by the then deputy inspector of schools, Gomang Haloi, who allegedly demanded a bribe of up to 60,000 rupees (pound;900) for each one.

Mr Haloi has been arrested and is being held on remand along with three colleagues also suspected of taking part in the racket. The dismissals followed the report of a magisterial inquiry, which found that the appointments had been made without clearance from the state education council.

The teachers, most of them from lower primary schools, have launched a campaign to get their jobs back, saying they were not at fault. "It is true that some of us might have paid bribes to get appointed, but then who doesn't?" said one of the teachers.

Officials conducting the inquiry said that this was the biggest racket they had unearthed. They also said they had been unable to recover all the money that Mr Haloi had collected, since part of it had been used to pay off the United Liberation Front Army, which had kidnapped his son but later released him.

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