Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. Photo: Twitter/@manojsinha_
SRINAGAR, Nov 03: Warning “strict disciplinary action”, the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s administration has ordered the employees to stay away from strikes and demonstrations.
A joint forum of different trade unions in J&K have called for a one-day strike and demonstration in Jammu as well as Srinagar on November 4, 2023 in support of their demands which include regularization of the daily-wager workers in the government departments and public sector organisations.
A circular issued by J&K’s General Administration Department (GAD), on Friday, November 3, noted that “some employees are resorting to demonstrations and strikes in favour of certain demands”.
Pointing to Rule 20 (ii) of Jammu and Kashmir Government Employees (Conduct) Rules, 1971, the circular stated that any demonstrations and strikes by the employees is an “act of serious indiscipline and misconduct”.
The administration has warned that “strict disciplinary action” will be taken against any employee who is found involved in “organizing demonstration(s) and strike(s) in terms of rule mentioned supra,” the GAD circular (No. GAD-ADM0III/158/2023-09-GAD) stated.
Rule (ii) of J&K employee conduct rules bars the government employees from organising or participating in “any form of strike in connection with their service matter or the service matter of other government employee”.
“Therefore, all Administrative Secretaries are requested to circulate these instructions to employees in their respective Department(s) to desist from all such uncalled for demonstrations and strikes: an act of serious indiscipline and misconduct,” the GAD circular states.
The circular comes at a time when hundreds of employees have been sacked by Jammu and Kashmir administration on allegedly arbitrary grounds while close to 50 employees have been terminated in the last four years on charges of being a threat to the “security of the state.”
Presently, there are more than five lakh employees in Jammu and Kashmir. The number of contractual employees is close to one lakh who are hired by various departments against existing vacancies without giving them employment benefits of permanent employees.
In recent weeks and months, aggrieved employees, including those working with the central government departments, have been hitting the streets in thousands across Jammu and Kashmir to seek the attention of the government in addressing their employment matters.
Thousands of contractual employees hired for the central government schemes such as National Health Mission, MNREGA, and Gram Rozgar Sevak have taken out their anger against the government on the streets, while demanding an increase in their wages and regularisation of their employment.
On Monday, October 30, dozens of employees of Jammu and Kashmir Road Transport Corporation staged a protest at Press Enclave in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk to demand the resolution of their demands, including regular employment benefits, regularisation, and implementation of the Minimum Wages Act.
Thousands of Kashmiri Pandit employees had gone on strike for months following a spate of targeted killings of the minority Hindus and migrant workers by militants in 2021, which prompted many of them to leave the Valley. The strike was called off after nearly a year.
Communist Party of India-M leader M Y Tarigami deplored the order issued by the J&K administration and said that the diktat issued by the government contravenes the ILO conventions to which India is a signatory.
Through his handle, Tarigami’s post on X (Formerly Twitter) said: “The order contravenes the ILO conventions to which India is a party. Government employees only stage demonstrations and rallies when their legitimate and just demands are not fulfilled. The directive is yet another assault on the employees’ and workers’ constitutional rights.”