Friday, October 22, 2021
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Following the recent targeted killings of minorities by militants in the Valley, Kashmir Divisional Commissioner K Pandurang Pole Wednesday stepped in to address concerns of migrant government employees, assuring them of safety.

After visiting transit accommodations for the migrant employees, Pole told The Indian Express that some of them had raised concerns that “have been taken note of”.

On Wednesday, The Indian Express reported that the Divisional Commissioner had, on October 9, directed Deputy Commissioners of all 10 districts in Kashmir to ensure that migrant employees need not leave the Valley and that “whosoever will be absent shall be dealt as per Service Rules”.

Pole attributed the directions with regard to presence of employees and in the minutes of the meeting to a “clerical error”, stating that the purpose was security and not punitive action.

“The main focus of the minutes of that meeting is on the security of the employees but as far as presence of employees is concerned, there are hardly any who have left. The difficulties that they have expressed are being addressed,” he said. “Most of the migrant employees are attending work. Some may be on leave due to festivities [Navratri] and some others go to Jammu around this time to drop off families and elderly as winter approaches here.”

According to government estimates, 3,841 migrant employees are currently posted in Kashmir.

However, apprehensions remain among several government employees, who left for Jammu after the killings, over returning to the Valley. Many are fearful of risking their lives by returning to work in the Valley.

“I had planned to take leave only for Diwali. The fear of inadequate security following the killings of minorities made me leave Kashmir in a hurry. It is not like we are evading work but the administration and the government have not made any concrete security arrangements for return,” said a Kashmiri Pandit employee who did not want to be named.

While the recent order has given rise to apprehensions about safety, several employees, especially those in lower ranks, said if action is taken against them, they would have to choose between quitting the job or returning with a constant fear for life.

Some said a few supervisors and District Development Officers have given a week or so to return to work. “Some supervisors are telling the employees from minority communities to return to work immediately. Some DDOs though have given the leeway of a few more days of leave,” another employee said.

Divisional Commissioner Pole said measures were being taken over the concerns. He said some migrant families living in private rented accommodations are concerned about safety. “We have told them that construction work for their accommodation is being expedited and in the next few days, they will be provided with government accommodation,” he said.

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