Police Quells JCC’s Raj Bhavan March, Holds 200

Police Quells JCC’s Raj Bhavan March, Holds 200

16 June 2012
Kashmir Observer


Srinagar: With massive bandobast, the police on Saturday clamped down on employees marching to the Raj Bhavan here to demand 6th Pay Commission arrears, arresting nearly two hundred to foil multiple bids, including an audacious move to burst out of a major uptown shrine. Amid a total strike in government departments across the state, protesting public servants faced furious water cannon once again today, their cracks at laying siege to the secretariat in summer capital already thwarted thrice. The unions decried the government's strong-arm methods, and said further action would be announced June 19. The administration had gone into high gear with police deployments to avert employees descending on the city from other parts – entry points had been armed with strict checking squads and personnel spread over main interior streets. With a march to the Raj Bhavan already announced for the last day of their 4-day stir today, the unions however made a surprise assembly at the shrine of Hazrat Syed Sahib at Sonwar close by and tried to press out of its rear gate. Getting wind of the move, the police immediately threw a ring around the shrine and an adjacent mosque, blocking the marchers inside. Some were said to have made it to the UN office a short distance away, but most were rounded up by authorities who whisked over 50 employees to the Ram Munshi Bagh police station. Immediately another group of protesters appeared near the Municipal Park amid heated slogans, but ran into police contingents near the GPO. Though scores were detained in the fresh bid, water cannon went into action as JCC leaders Khurseed Aalam and Abdul Qayoom Wani managed to lead a large group upto the Emporium Gardens. Law enforcers had sealed off the road with vehilces, and heavily hosed down the protestors with coloured water to break up their demonstration. Both Wani and Aalam were taken into custody along with scores of their associates and sent to the Kothi Bagh police station. Many more were arrested in a number of attempts by groups that kept appearing intermittently at various places only to be dispersed with powerful torrents of water. In the afternoon, another group of leaders led protestors out of the PHE’s city bureau, but was dispersed with barricades and more arrests near the Central Telegraph Office. Police vehicles deployed across the city centre near the Press Enclave, Abi Guzar, Janglat Gali, Regal Chowk, Maulana Azad Road, Residency Road and the Budshah Chowk, and bolstered by large contingents had been kept at the ready to come down on marchers wherever they emerged. According to reports, checking squads halted vehicles at the city’s entry points, asking for identity cards from occupants. Many of those found to be government employees were turned, and many detained on the spot for the whole day. The Joint Consultative Committee accused the government of using force, and ‘foisting’ confrontation on the unions who have been fighting for over a year for the remainder of their sixth pay commission arrears, and increase in the retirement age from 58 to 60. An amalgam of various employees association set up when the 6th Pay Commission recommendations were announced, the JCC has included the regularisation of certain categories of non-permanent employees and removal of pay anomalies among their other demands.