Employees protest re-advertising of posts in Srinagar, demand regularisation
Youngsters recruited under the Rehbar-e-Khel (physical education) and Rehbar-E-Janglat (forest department ) schemes of the PDP-BJP government in 2017 held a protest in Srinagar on Sunday, demanding revocation of Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to re-advertise the posts they were engaged in.
The government had on Friday re-advertised the posts through the Service Selection Board. It said additional weightage and age relaxation will be given to those already working on these posts. Converging at the Press Enclave at the city centre in Lal Chowk, the protesters demanded revocation of the order.
“We were expecting regularisation, but were shocked when the government decided to unfreeze these posts for re-advertisement,” said Rafiq Rather, president of employees’ joint action committee (EJAC).
“The order is arbitrary and unjust, and the employees and their families will stage a protest against it,” he said.
Rather, who is also leader of Teachers’ Forum was leading the protest, said that the then PDP-BJP government under a cabinet decision in 2017 had decided to engage 3,000 youngsters as physical education teachers under Rehbar-e-Khel and another 300-500 youth in forest department under Rehbar-e-janglat for a period of seven and five years, respectively, after which they would be regularised. Their appointment orders were issued under the then governor in 2018.
“The ReJ were recruited on a remuneration of ₹3,000- ₹4,000 per month for a five-year period and they were set to be regularised in August this year. All of these youth are post graduates and even have PhDs in forestry. They have qualified NET, SLET examinations,” he said.
Rather said that Rehbar-e-Khel youth were also hopeful of getting regularized but the latest order by government has dashed their hopes. “The referral of posts to the service selection board for recruitment means no posts will be set aside for all these youth. Many of these youth have crossed their upper age limit and how will relaxation in the recruitment process help them when they have given five years of their life,” he said.
The protesters said that they will continue protests and will use every democratic way to force the government to revoke the order. “We won’t hesitate to go to the court, Supreme Court or even to Jantar Mantar to force the government of India to revoke this tyrannical order,” Rather said.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti wanted immediate revocation of the order. “Terminating services of Rehbar e Khel,Janglat,Zirat, NYCs & referring these posts to SSRB afresh is a malicious move to destroy careers of these youngsters by ensuring non residents are given jobs at the cost of locals. LG should immediately rollback this absurd order,” she said in a tweet.
J&K Peoples Conference termed the government’s decision absolutely wrong and unjustified. “We are totally against this decision. Governments are about consistency and continuity. The soul and essence of governments in any democratic setup is a continuous chain of decisions which are carried on by new governments in the interest of the people. If every government is to challenge and undo the actions and decisions of the previous governments then it would certainly be a recipe for disaster”, party spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir said in a statement.
Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society Forum (JKCSF) and former president EJAC Abdul Qayoom Wani said that it was sheer injustice with these professional degree holders, who worked on meager salary just relying on the hope of regularisation after stipulated time frame of five to seven years.
“But now when the time comes near the government is disengaging them and pushing their future into darkness. The order needs to be revoked and all these employees should be regularised on the pattern of Rehbar-e-Taleem(teachers) as these employees are already professional degree holders and experienced too. Verification of documents of an employee can be done; there is no objection to that aspect,” he said.
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