Darbar move employees to boycott duties from Monday, urge Govt to ‘send them back home’

The secretariat employees in Jammu have informed their higher-ups about boycotting their official duties from Monday given the volatile situation and threat to the lives of their families there. Around 10 employees have already left Jammu last night.

The province remains under curfew for the third consecutive day after Jammu locals attacked Kashmiris, blaming all of them for a suicide attack carried out by militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad on a Central Reserve Police Force Convoy on 14 February in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.

The Secretariat employees, who shift bi-annually from summer capital Srinagar to the winter capital Jammu, accommodated in government quarters in Janipur, Jammu, survived a mob attack yesterday and accused the police of watching as mute spectators. On that night, according to the employees, when the police and protesters had left at around 11.30, some Kashmiri employees had left the quarters with their families.

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“Till 11.30, the police was stopping the protestors to enter the quarters, unlike what was happening during the day. After they left, the Kashmiris, around 10 to 15, who had cars left with their families in the night at around 2 am. Rest of us are here. Our cars have been damaged in the attack yesterday,” an employee told Free Press Kashmir.

“The authorities did not stop them. Vehicles were passing by Ramban. And the authorities had kept the police informed to let Kashmiris travelling back to Kashmir go,” he said.

They have informed the State President of their Association that they will boycott their official duties and requested the authorities to help them go back to Kashmir. “We have requested the authorities to give us safe passage to our home and that we will be boycotting our official duties as the atmosphere is not safe here.”

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Moreover, the Employees Coordination Committee Civil Secretariat Jammu on Sunday urged the state government to facilitate their journey back to Kashmir in view of mob violence in the state’s winter capital.

In a statement, ECC Civil Secretariat Jammu chairman Ghulam Rasool Mir requested Governor Satya Pal Malik to give employees and their families transport facility and protection from Jammu to their homes as “every one of them feels insecure in Jammu.”

Meanwhile, employees were accused of raising pro-Pakistan slogans which according to them they did not.

“There was a report in Daily Excelsior that we raised pro-Pakistan slogans. We condemn the accusation. We are completely against it. We have spoken to our president as well. We will be lodging an FIR against the daily,” an employee told Free Press Kashmir.

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Meanwhile, the protestors are trying to barge in the quarters and the local police are stopping them. “The curfew is for us. They are not letting us out but they are letting the protestors roam around. It is anyway not safe for us to leave,” he said.

Yesterday, quarters were attacked in Sarwal and other areas but it was controlled, he said adding, “We have some food stock but many people have bigger families. The stock won’t last long.”

The anti-Kashmiri sentiment was already on the rise there as the traders had earlier testified to be harassed by the locals and the police in the name of verification. Following that, during the closure of National Highway, the stranded Kashmiris were attacked by stones by Jammu students accusing them of raising pro-Pakistan slogans in their college.

The attack took place on 14 February after which the curfew was imposed and internet services were barred in Jammu. Despite the curfew, mobs of Jammu locals damaged around 60 vehicles of Kashmiris on Friday.