SRINAGAR: Among the youngsters pelting stones at security forces in the last two months in the Kashmir Valley, there have been a fair number of teachers and government employees, both taking a break because schools and offices are shut. Now the Mehbooba Mufti government has decided to take action against them for participating in the rioting.
The State government has prepared a list of more than 200 government employees, including teachers, who participated in pro-azaadi protests, pelted stones and provoked youngsters over the last two months. They face action. Highly placed sources disclosed to Express that the list was prepared upon instructions from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
“If government employees indulge in such acts, what to speak of the common Kashmiri,” she reportedly said at a meeting with her staff. Further to her umbrage, she ordered all district collectors in the Valley to prepare a list of errant government employees.
A majority of the collectors have already furnished the said lists which, sources said, contain the names of 200 employees. If lists come in from the rest of the collectors, the number is likely to go up. Over the last 72 hours, sources said, nearly 50 individuals named in the lists have been detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA). “Besides teachers, there are employees of the horticulture, agriculture and other departments in the list,” the sources claimed.
In many cases, there is video evidence of teachers egging on the mobs. All such evidence is available with the local police, a source revealed.
Some of the moonlighting government employees were injured in the rioting and were undergoing treatment. “We will wait for them to be discharged and then take action,” the sources added.
However, some of the employees said they were put up to it under coercion by separatist groups. “The government can say whatever it wants, but in many cases the employees were forced by separatists to take part in the protests. They threatened us that if we do not participate, they would kill us. We had no option. I do not believe that all of them joined the protests on their own,” said a government employee in the health department based in Kupwara.
Requesting anonymity, he said, “In some places, when they refused, they were beaten up.”