Photos of constables in Uttarakhand wearing black armbands and protesting against anomalies in their salaries went viral on WhatsApp and Facebook, sending top police officials into a tizzy on Monday.
Inspector general of police Sanjay Gunjiyal said officials were drawing up a list of mobile numbers that were believed to be involved in circulating “provoking messages”.
According to reports in a section of the local media, several constables and junior constables protested with armbands in Haridwar, US Nagar and Tehri districts on Sunday.
Some messages demanding the removal of anomalies in salaries were circulated in closed groups on WhatsApp, officials said. “I have asked officials in concerned districts to keep track on the provoking messages and put such mobile numbers under surveillance,” said Gunjiyal.
The anomalies in salaries dates back to October 2011, when the state decided to pay arrears to government employees with retrospective effect from January 1, 2006 according to the 6th Pay Commission’s recommendations.
However, the decision was not applied to employees of the rank of sub-inspector and below in the police department. Sources said the number of such employees is nearly 21,000.
“The government made a proposal for arrears but the finance department has objections on the amount of money (to be paid). The constables moved the high court and the government challenged the court’s order,” said M Sundarama, the secretary in-charge of the home department.
A few constables approached the high court earlier this year to appeal against the government’s decision. A single-judge bench of the court ruled in favour of the policemen but the government challenged order before a two-judge bench.
The matter is now pending in court. To pay the arrears to the policemen, the state will have to spend about Rs 100 crore and this appears to be the bone of contention, official sources said.