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Employees threaten court arrest as strike enters 14th day

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 16, 2009

kashmir-global-network : Message: [kashnet] Employees threaten court arrest as strike enters 14th day

Govt contemplating to take ‘action’
Employees threaten court arrest as strike enters 14th day
KT NEWS SERVICE
JAMMU, Jan 2: The state government is contemplating to initiate action
against some front
line leaders of Employees Joint Action Committee even as hospitals across
Jammu
province continue to wear deserted look due to strike by the employees which
entered
fourteenth consecutive day today.

Meanwhile state council of the Employees Joint Action Committee held an
emergency
meeting this evening. The meeting unanimously decided that employees of all
the state
government departments will hold massive protest demonstration tomorrow.

It was also decided that the striking employees would court arrest if any
action was taken
against the leadership of Employees Joint Action Committee and other
employee
organisations.

It may be mentioned that state cabinet had constituted a four member cabinet
sub
committee to negotiate with the leaders of Employees Joint Action Committee.
The
committee headed by Minister for Housing and Urban Development Ghulam
Mohi-ud-Din
Shah has Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs PL Handoo, Minister for
Education
Mohd Shafi and Minister for Finance Abdul Rahim Rather as its members.

Immediately after its constitution, the cabinet sub committee invited EJAC
leadership for
talks. However another round of talks were left for the next morning i.e on
December 31.

According to sources government in the meantime issued an order directing
gazetted staff
to report for duties immediately or face action.

On December 31, when the talks were scheduled, the leaders of EJAC demanded
that the
said be first revoked before negotiations could start which the government
out rightly
refused.

Meanwhile, the issue was taken up in the cabinet meeting yesterday which was
chaired by
Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. The meeting which lasted for over two hours
couldn’t
formulate any policy to deal with the situation arising due to the strike by
the employees.

The Chief Minister later convened another meeting with the Finance Minister
Abdul Rahim
Rather and Education Minister Mohd Shafi at his official residence which was
also attended
by Chief Secretary Ashok Jaitly and Principal Secretary Finance Ajit Kumar.

Later, Dr Abdullah left for New Delhi alongwith Chief Secretary, Finance
Minister and some
other top officers probably to discuss the issue with the Central
government.

Soon after his arrival at Delhi, the team called on Prime Minister Atal
Behari Vajpayee and
discussed with him the severe financial crunch facing the state besides
briefed him about
the overall security scenario of the state.

Reliable sources disclosed to Kashmir Times that the state government has
directed
intelligence wing of Jammu and Kashmir Police to furnish a list of prominent
leaders of
Employees Joint Action Committee or other like employee organisations
against whom
action could be initiated. Their arrest is not ruled out, soruces said.

Prominent among the front line leadership who figure in such a list include
Pardeep Sharma,
Lekh Raj Khajuria, Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, Anwar Beg, Girdhari Lal Chanda, BR
Bano,
Satish Chander, Subash Chander, Gafoor Dar, Ghulam Nabi and Maqbool Ahmed
Dar.

Meanwhile an official spokesman late tonight said that the team of officers
presently at New
Delhi is expected to reach Jammu tomorrow. “We hope soon after its arrival,
cabinet sub
committee meets again to negotiate with the EJAC leadership spearheading the
agitation,”
he further said.

The employees have been on strike for past a fortnight. They are demanding
fulfilment of
past agreements with the state government. Their demands include enhancement
in the
retirement age of employees, restoration of SRO 43 besides release of 15 per
cent of DA
and arrears on account of 5th Pay Commission recommendations.

The EJAC leadership has pledged not to buckle under any pressure and take
the agitation
to its logical conclusion. “It is for the first time that employees of all
the three regions have
joined at a common platform for resolution of our demands,” Mohd Shafi Khan,
general
secretary of Civil Secretariat (non gazetted) employees union said, adding
that the
employees are ready for any kind of sacrifices till all their demands are
conceded by the
government.

There are reports that the strike has the blessings of some top bureaucrats
who want
continuation of the strike till all the demands are agreed in toto.

“If govenment could implement recommendations of 5th Pay Commission for the
employees
of J&K why it didn’t raise retirement age upto 60, as recommended by the
said
commission,” another leader said, adding that they were not willing to take
this extreme step
but were compelled to do so by the government itself

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