Allow peaceful protests in J&K: Tarigami

JAMMU: Expressing serious concern over the restrictions being imposed on peaceful public protests across the state, the CPI (M) State Secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami today said it is ironic that at a place like Jammu and Kashmir where the efforts are afoot to strengthen participatory democracy, the state is repressing channels of disagreement.

Addressing Chenani Nashiri tunnel project workers at Nashri in Batote, the CPI (M) leader said by scrutinizing workers’ protests; limiting and controlling them in a variety of ways and the government’s policy to use repressive means to stifle dissent within a liberal democracy has unfortunately become a routine occurrence in the state.

“Freedom of assembly is an essential element of a democratic system. The basic assumption in a democratic polity is that government shall be based on the consent of the governed,” the CPI (M) leader said while quoting a Supreme Court ruling. Tarigami said unfortunately some companies recruit and terminate the poor workers unlawfully. “These poor workers are recruited after asking them to sign on an affidavit having unreasonable conditions. When they protest against the violation of their rights, they are terminated without serving any prior notice to them.”

Stating that there seems to be a systematic and routine violation of labour laws in Jammu and Kashmir, he underscored need for strict implementation of regulations guaranteeing protection to labour class in the state.  The CPI (M) leader lamented that labourers are enduring minimum wages and overtime violations, hazardous working conditions, discrimination, and retaliation for speaking up or trying to organize. “These hapless labourers have little recourse because of their need for work, especially during the pressing times of inflation and price rise. Workplace violations are severe and widespread in the low-wage labor market,” he added.

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