By Farzana Mumtaz
In the latest dramatic turnaround of events, The Mehbooba Mufti government in Jammu and Kashmir has sacked 18 officials for their alleged role in fuelling unrest in the state. More than 100 others are being watched closely, and there could be more sackings, sources said. Kashmir has been witnessing a 105 day upheaval since the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani which has lead to killing of more than 90 protesters, thousands injured and arrested.
On the otherhand, scores have been blinded by pellet gun. Now, many are stating that this move of terminating services of employees is brutal assault on freedom of speech and set democratic norms. Both employee leaders and employees have threatened government with massive stir if it does not revoke the termination. Importantly, the government has written to departmental heads to issue termination letters to these employees without any delay even though the latter can approach court to question the sacking ‘without holding mandatory inquiry into the charges leveled again them’.
The criminal investigation department (CID) and central intelligence agencies are reportedly said to have prepared a list of more than hundred employees for ‘leading or nudging’ protests in Kashmir.
Pertinently, President Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) Abdul Qayoom Wani told news agency CNS that the number of sacked employees was more than 12.
“The number of sacked employees exceeds 12 and it is round about 40,” he said, adding that the incumbent government has crossed all the limits of “suppression”.
“All the sacked employees are lower rung employees and we will protect their interests at any cost,” he said.
Accusing the government of trampling the rights of people particularly employees, Wani said that EJAC will convene a special session to discuss the future course of action. While as, reacting to the termination of more than dozen employees by the state government in wake of their participation in ongoing Kashmir agitation, Prominent Employee Leader and Government Employees Conference Chairman Ishtiyaq Beigh has castigated the move terming it as murder of Democracy.
” Employees are part and parcel of society, and are bound to participate in their sufferings, happiness, lows and highs .The termination of services of employees on pretext of being part of current protests is a step taken in wrong direction. This move has sent wrong signals to the employee fraternity – spread an environment of disappointment and sadness.”
Ishtiyaq Beigh urged Government to revoke the termination soon as to avoid a large scale protests from employees on the move .
Ground watchers say such terminations had occurred in the 1990s when armed militancy and separatism was at its peak in Kashmir. Interestingly, Education minister Naeem Akhtar was among five government employees dismissed from service by the state government in 1990 for his alleged involvement in anti-national activities.
It is worth mentioning here that most of the sacked employees are lower run and employee leadership has maintained sacking lower rung employees this government has virtually stabbed their families.
What will the future situation lead to remains to be seen.