Despite Arrests, Employees Continue Strike In Kashmir8 April 2010
Srinagar: Despite arrest of nearly 100 employees, the government employees in the Indian administered Kashmir Thursday continued their week-long strike. All government offices including educational institutions remained closed for the third day in succession. The students of the government school remained affected and all the institutions wore a deserted look for the fourth running day here. The strike also hit the health-care sector. Patient care continued to be hit here as Outdoor Patient Department in all the hospitals were closed with poor patients forced to return home without being attended by the doctors. However, the emergency services in hospitals have been exempted from the strike. The 0.5 million employees have gone on week-long strike from Monday to press the government to release their pending arrears, increase the retirement age from 50 to 60 years and regularize the adhoc, contractual and daily-wage employees. A leader of JCC, an employees' union, said over 110 striking employees have been arrested by police during last three days. 'The employees have been arrested while taking out rallies in support of their demands,' said JCC leader Farooq Ahmad Trali. He said the employees won't bow under any under pressure and continue with their struggle. 'Government has to concede our demands,' he said. 'We are ready for talks with government but it has give away the double policy against the employees,' JCC leader, Khursheed Alam said here in response to fresh call for negotiation by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Terming the strike by employees as unjustified, the Government announced 'no work, no wages' and invoking of Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), which was currently operational, against the striking employees. An official communiqué said that the un-authorized absenteeism from the offices attracts invoking the principle of 'no work no wages', in keeping with the settled law of the land on the subject. 'In terms of the Essential Services (Maintenance) Ordinance Samvat 2001 and SRO-1 of 12th January 2000, the Government has declared all employment under the Government as essential within the meaning of the said Ordinance and any person indulging in such practices attracts punishment under the relevant law.' It said that that the Government is incurring a whopping loss of Rs 25 crore daily, as salary, due to strike by its employees. This, the statement said, cannot be allowed and realizing its constitutional obligations, the Government would deal with erring employees as per the provisos of ESMA. The chief minister Omar Abdullah Thursday said he has asked the officers to implement contingency plans fully so that people do not confront any problem'. 'Our primary responsibility is to provide better services to the people with special focus on the essential services'. He said the Government incurred a hefty amount of Rs. 1800 crore on implementation of 6th Pay Commission recommendations. 'Keeping the aspects in mind, employees should resume their duties in the larger interest of the people and shun the path of strike which would only add miseries to the people,' he said.