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Dismissal of ‘anti-national’ govt employees begins in J&K

Lt. Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha

Nine months after making some amendments to the laws and rules governing the government employment, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s administration has begun the process of terminating the services of the government employees, allegedly indulging in anti-national activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

On 30 July 2020, Government of Jammu and Kashmir had amended the service rules and dispensed with the requirement of an enquiry for dismissal of the employees emerging as a threat to the security of the State. For the first time, the government had devised a mechanism to terminate the ‘anti-national employees’ without facing judicial scrutiny.

Principal Secretary Home and Additional Director General of Police Criminal Investigation Department were given sweeping powers to decide the fate of the employees reported to the government as a threat to the security of the State.

The General Administration Department with approval of the LG on Friday issued Government Order No: 400-JK (GAD) of 2021 Dated 30-04-2021, terminating the service of Idrees Jan, teacher at Government Middle School Kralpora in Kupwara district.

“Whereas the Lieutenant is satisfied after considering the facts and circumstances of the case and on the basis of the information available that the activities of Mr. Idrees Jan, Teacher Government Middle School, Kralpora, Kupwara are such as to warrant his dismissal from service;

“And whereas, the Lieutenant Governor is satisfied under sub-clause (c) of the proviso to clause (2) of Article 311 of the Constitution of India that in the interest of the security of the State, it is not expedient to hold an enquiry in the case of Mr. Idrees Jan, Teacher, Government Middle School, Kralpora, Kupwara.

“Accordingly, the Lieutenant Governor hereby dismisses Mr. Idrees Jan, Teacher, Government Middle School, Kralpora, Kupwara from service, with immediate effect”, reads the order issued on Friday.

On 21 April 2021, the Government had constituted a high level committee vide Order No: 355-JK (GAD) of 2021 for the purpose of scrutinising and processing the cases of the employees reported by the intelligence agency. ADG CID was appointed as its Chairman and Inspector General of Police Kashmir/Jammu and Additional Secretaries of the Law Department and the concerned department of the employee as members.

The Committee was given the responsibility to scrutinise cases of employees suspected of activities requiring action under Article 311(2)© of the Constitution of India, to compile record of such employees, wherever necessary and to refer it to the Committee constituted vide Government Order No: 738-JK(GAD) of 2020 Dated 30-07-2020 and to engage with other members of the Terror Monitoring Group (TMG) for identifying such other employees, as necessary.

“This is the first dismissal of an employee indulging in anti-national activities by the LG’s government. More of such terminations will follow as the cases of 500 to 1000 government employees have been reported by the security and intelligence agencies”, said a highly placed bureaucratic source. He said that previous political regimes had dismissed some of such ‘anti-national employees’ but the process had been left legally deficient and almost all of them had been reinstated under court orders.

“It is incredibly strange that even the Government employees’ association had joined and operated for over 20 years as a constituent of the secessionist Hurriyat Conference. This cannot be tolerated by any responsible State”, said a senior bureaucrat now working in the Jammu and Kashmir Government.

From the outbreak of militancy in 1989-90 to the street turmoil of 2016, the J&K government employees and their associations participated openly in the demonstrations and conferences organised by separatist and militant organisations. However, the senior ranks stood away from such activities after 1998.

In the very beginning of the militancy, the government employees sympathetic to the separatist cause managed signatures of almost all the top ranking bureaucrats on a resolution demanding Plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir under the UN Security Council resolutions of 1948 and 1949.

Later in 1990, they proceeded on a 72-day shutdown of government offices and services when Governor Jagmohan terminated five senior officers for supporting the separatists and militants. However, they were all reinstated by Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar’s government on persuasion of the two J&K politicians namely Farooq Abdullah and Saifuddin Soz. Bureaucrat-turned-politician Naeem Akhtar, who later resigned, joined Mufti Sayeed’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and functioned as a Member of Legislative Council and a Cabinet Minister in the PDP-BJP government, was among the five officers.

Family members and relatives of the separatist leaders in the State government service were particularly promoted and placed on prize positions in some regimes from 2002 to 2019. Some of their close relatives were taken into the government services through the backdoor.

LG’s government is reportedly in possession of reports about hundreds of the employees, including senior officers in Police and civil administration, who for years were publicly supporters of the separatists, militants and Pakistan. They seldom attended their offices or duties for over 25 years of the militancy. Besides, a number of the government employees picked up the gun and got guerrilla training and weapons from Pakistan. Simultaneously they continued to draw salaries from the State exchequer.

According to these reports, a large number of the militants joined back their government services or got fresh government jobs while managing to get character verification certificates from the Police and CID.