No salaries to those sitting at home, L-G tells protesting Kashmiri Pandit employees
They have been agitating in Jammu for the last six months against targeted killings of minorities in the Valley.
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday warned Kashmiri Pandits holding protests against the targeted killings of minorities in the Valley that no salary will be paid to those “sitting at their homes”, PTI reported.
Kashmiri Pandits and reserved category Dogra employees have been protesting in Jammu for the last six months, demanding that they be relocated to safer places outside the Valley. The protests began after Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit, was shot dead by suspected militants in his office in the Chadoora area of Budgam district on May 12.
“We have cleared their [protesting employees’] salaries till August 31, but it cannot be done that they will be paid their salaries by sitting at their homes,” the lieutenant governor told reporters on Wednesday. “This is a loud and clear message to them and they should listen and understand it.”
Sinha said the Union Territory administration holds sympathy for the protesting employees and assured that the officials were fully prepared to ensure their safety.
“They should also keep in mind that they are Kashmir division employees and cannot be transferred to Jammu,” he said “Like a district cadre employee of Poonch cannot come to Jammu, those of Kashmir division, too, cannot be posted here [Jammu]. Everyone should understand this.”
Sinha claimed the Jammu and Kashmir administration has made sincere efforts to solve all the long-pending issues of the Kashmiri Pandits. “Almost all of them were transferred to district headquarters in consultation with district commissioners, superintendents of police and other government functionaries,” he added.
The lieutenant governor said no Kashmiri Pandit or minority community employee will not be posted alone in any office. Two or three persons will be stationed along with them to ensure their safety, he said.
He also said his administration has appointed officers in every district and one in Raj Bhavan to look after their grievances of Kashmiri Pandits.
Kashmiri Pandit employees, however, told PTI that Sinha had made an unfortunate statement. “It is better for the government to sack us all,” a protestor in Jammu said. “We will not go to the Valley to join services. Our lives are more important than jobs.”
Another protestor said that Kashmiri Pandit employees cannot be used as a sign of peace and normality in Kashmir. “The administration has failed to protect us from selective killings,” the protestor said.
About 4,000 Kashmiri Pandits are employed under the prime minister’s special rehabilitation package. The scheme was rolled out in 2008 for the Kashmiri migrants who left the Valley in the 1990s after the rise of militancy. The package envisaged 6,000 jobs to migrants and creating additional posts.