Dozen injured, 150 arrested in police action
Over a dozen government employees were injured in police action during a protest march here while over 150 others were arrested. Normal work in government offices was almost paralysed in view of the strike call given by Employees Joint Action (EJAC) in support of its demand against non implementation of an agreement signed by its leaders with the state government.
After today’s tough government action, EJAC has announced to intensify its “struggle” and called for a strike again on May and a strike and “gherao” of civil secretariat here on May 9.
This morning large number of employees led by their leaders reached near Khalsa School and took out a protest march towards the divisional commissioner’s office to submit a memorandum. The state government had deployed in strength the police and paramilitary forces.
The cops swung into action at Exhibition Crossing and Jehangir Chowk and resorted to lathi charge and used water cannon to disperse the protestors.
At least one dozen government employees got injured in the police action and dozens of them were detained. They included Khurshid Alam and Abdul Qayoom Wani.
However, the agitated employees showed stiff resistance and crossed the temporary barricades erected by police. The employees were again intercepted by large contingent of police.
A number of employees managed to escape from the spot and later resurfaced at Jehangir Chowk and Exhibition Crossing where they held protests. Cops again used water cannon and lathi charge to disperse them.
Later police blocked all roads for the employees and prevented them to assemble. Normal life came to stand still at Exhibition Crossing and Jehangir Chowk during the march and police action.
The shopskeepers were forced to close their shops after the colour water entered into their shops which was used by police against protesting employees to disperse them. The shopkeeper expressed displeasure over the excessive use of water cannons.
The employees’ leader, Abdul Qayoom Wani told Kashmir Times that EJAC leadership has condemned the police action The EJAC president termed protest programme genuine since the agreement was violated by government.
The employees leaders alleged that government’s delay in releasing the arrears have put their families in great trouble financially in this time of inflation.
The employees have been demanding 6th pay commission arrears in cash, regularization of daily wage workers, contractual workers, removal of the pay anomalies of the clerical staff, in cash payment to the retired employees and early settlement of their other arrears andg enhancement of retirement age from 58 to 60 years.
Another employees union, EJAC Kashmir senior leaders Shabir Ahmad Langu, Ishtiyaq Beg, Sheikh Majid, Imtiyaz Khan and Nazir Ahmad Qadri told media persons that today’s strike call was a flop show. They gave a separate hunger strike call on May 7 for the implementation of six pay commission recommendations.