Govt gets tough over EJAC’s support to dismissed employees
EJAC chief placed under suspension, arrested with five trade union leaders, lodged in Kupwara jail
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Oct 24: Perturbed over the support of Jammu and Kashmir Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) to the dozen-odd Government employees dismissed from service for “anti-national activities”, Mehbooba Mufti’s coalition government has suspended and detained a prominent trade union leader alongwith five other officials.
Apparently acting under the coalition partner BJP’s pressure, Chief Minister is understood to have given green signal to dismissal of 24 more government employees who figure in the list of 180 officials actively involved in the current street turbulence in the Valley. Last week, the State government began its drive with the dismissal of 9 employees. Three more employees were subsequently terminated by two administrative Secretaries.
According to well-placed authoritative sources, Ms Mufti’s government would terminate at least 12 more employees before the Durbar Move on October 27 followed by another dozen of them after opening of offices in November in Jammu.
The dismissals have evoked a deluge of negative reactions and criticism from almost all the mainstream and separatist opposition parties. However, as of them, over five hundred thousand State employees have not posed a substantial threat to the government. The Government did not lose any time in initiating action against the trade union leaders who, under the banner of EJAC, had called for revocation of the termination orders and announced to take to streets if the authorities failed to withdraw the orders.
As the EJAC leaders were assembling here for a meeting on Red Cross Road on Friday, six of them, alongwith seven junior officials, were taken into custody. EJAC President Abdul Qayoom Wani was immediately placed under suspension. Even as the seven junior officials were let off next day, Wani and two other trade union leaders were whisked away to Kupwara and lodged in a sub jail after Police secured remand for custody and detention of six employee leaders. Three more trade union leaders were lodged in sub jail Baramulla.
Wani’s suspension and detention of the six trade union leaders, including Wani, have served as a warning to thousands of the government employees who have, directly or indirectly, contributed to the mayhem for over three months. Sources in the top echelons of the coalition Government revealed to STATE NEWS that a number of the employees figuring among the shortlisted 36 officials could be terminated under section 226 of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services Rules and Regulations.
Until now, all the 12-odd employees have been dismissed on the charge of being threat to India’s “security, sovereignty and integrity [sections 126 (b)]”.
“Whereas on perusal of the dossier and other related documents, it transpires that the subject has been found involved in anti-national activities which include taking active part in causing disturbance and disorder to the public peace, intimidation to general public/ shopkeepers to observe shutdown amid calls given by separatists and instigating the youth to indulge in stone pelting…”, read the Government’s typical order.
Individual charges have been served on all the accused employees, denying them chance to defend themselves in a mandatory inquiry. Section 126 (b) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, that has been invoked for outright dismissal of the employees, gives the competent authority in the Government powers to dispense with the mandatory departmental enquiry.
Authorities have noted that thousands of the State’s regular employees do not indulge in stone pelting or organising of the attacks on Police and security forces but they use their offices, telephones and internet connections for promoting Jehad and Kashmir’s separation from rest of India. The Government has been duly informed by CID of J&K Police about alleged activities of the dismissed employees. Sources said that the State government would write to the Centre that a number of its own officials were indulging in anti-national activities and subscribing to the unrelenting mayhem in Jammu and Kashmir.
BSNL, Project Beacon and some other departments and organisations of the Government of India have not initiated any action against the officials allegedly involved in stone pelting, slogan shouting, shutdown enforcement and other secessionist activities.
[Published in today’s STATE TIMES]