Jammu: In a big warning to hundreds of Kashmiri Pandits who had been protesting for better security and relocation outside Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha has warned them that those sitting at home won’t get any salary. Sinha also assured them that the J&K Administration has taken all necessary measures for the safety of minority community employees including Kashmiri Pandits serving in the Valley.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha made the remark on Wednesday amid the ongoing protest by migrant Kashmiri Pandit employees and Jammu-based reserved category employees who left the Valley for Jammu in May following the targeted killings of their two colleagues – Rahul Bhat and Rajni Bhalla. “They are on a strike and I was in constant touch with them and made sincere efforts to address all their long-pending issues. Almost all of them were transferred to district headquarters in consultation with district commissioners, superintendents of police and other government functionaries,” the Lt Governor told reporters here.

He, however, said some people are placed at tehsil headquarters, and some in villages close to the city as those posted in the rural development department cannot be transferred to the city.

“Minority employees will not be deployed alone in any office and it was decided that two to three more people will be stationed along with them. We have appointed officers in every district and one in Raj Bhavan to look after their grievances. They are listening to them and are looking for necessary steps to address their issues,” he said.

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Safety of Kashmiri Pandits Top Priority: LG

Sinha said all deserving employees have been promoted, fulfilling their long-pending demand. “The list for promotion from non-gazetted to gazetted posts was forwarded to the Public Service Commission which informed that they were appointed in 2015, while they have already cleared the list of general category employees till 2014 and their list is in pipeline,” he said.

Sinha said there is only one genuine issue of concern which is of their accommodation. “Earlier, there were some issues related to land but it was cleared and tenders floated to complete the project for their accommodation at secured places. As many as 1,200 of them will be provided accommodation by April, and 1,800 more flats will be given during the next financial year,” he said.

He said their security is the priority of the administration. “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. This is a loud and clear message to them and they should listen and understand it,” he said.

Sinha said the J & K administration has full sympathy with them and is ready to provide them with security or any other assistance. 

Referring to the protesting reserved category employees who are also camping in Jammu and demanding their relocation, he said, “They should also keep in mind that they are Kashmir division employees and cannot be transferred to Jammu.” However, he said the chief secretary has framed a committee to look into their demand. “And I assure them that if there is any chance, we will frame a policy accordingly.”

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It may be noted that the protesting employees have been seeking relocation outside Kashmir.

Kashmiri Pandits Slam LG’s ‘No Salary’ Remark 

Migrant Kashmiri Pandit employees have intensified their months-long protest demanding a transfer from the Valley following Lt Governor Manoj Sinha’s remarks about stopping their salaries. The protesters also said it was best for the government to sack them as they would not rejoin their services in the Valley in the absence of proper security after a Lashkar-e-Taiba affiliate published hit lists of Kashmiri Pandit employees.

The Kashmiri Pandit employees, employed under the Prime Minister’s Rehabilitation Package in the Valley, held demonstrations in front of the Press Club here. Carrying placards depicting the administration’s “step-motherly treatment” towards them, they also raised slogans in support of their relocation.

“It is an unfortunate statement. It is better for the government to sack us all. We will not go to the Valley to join services. Our lives are more important than jobs,” a protester told reporters here.

He said that if the government wanted to stop their salaries, it was free to do so.

(With Agency Inputs)

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I4K Staff

India 4 Kashmir is a Pan-India movement to reclaim our lost ground and rehabilitate common Indians in Kashmir with dignity and honour.