Daily wagers protest, demand regularization

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Srinagar:  Scores of Casual and Daily-rated workers were Thursday injured after police beat them with bamboo sticks while they tried to march towards the Civil Secretariat here to press for their regularization.

The march, which was attended by hundreds of casual and daily-rated workers, was called by the J&K Casual and Dailywager Forum—an amalgam of various temporary employees’ bodies of various government departments—to ‘cordon off’ the Civil Secretariat Srinagar as a mark of protest against the ‘government’s failure’ to implement the regularization policy framed by the Sub-Cabinet Committee. 

Reports said that hundreds of temporary employees working in different government departments including Tourism, Horticulture, Floriculture, PDD, PWD,  Information assembled at Pratap Park here. 

The protesting employees tried to proceed towards Civil Secretariat. Eyewitnesses said  that as they came out from the park, police fired tear-smoke shells and pepper gas on them. Some the protesters tried to break the police cordon, however, they were chased away by the police and charged with canes. The heavy tear-smoke and pepper shelling created panic in the city centre, while commoners ran for safety.

Some females were injured during the stampede. Police used water cannons as well. Traffic movement came to halt while pedestrains and onlookers were seen covering their faces to escape from the pepper smoke.     

Reports said that at least 24 protesting employees were injured in police action while scores of them were detained in different police stations. “Our protest was peaceful, yet we were beaten, chased, abused and manhandled by police. This Government is following the foot prints of the previous government and is muzzling the voice of poor people like us,”Casual and Dailywagers Forum Vice President Muahammad Sarwar  said.

Some onlookers who were not the part of protest alleged they were also beaten up by police. “Despite displaying my identity card to policemen, they beat me mercilessly,” said a pedestrian.  

Earlier, addressing the protesting employees inside Pratap Park, Forum president Sajad Parray demanded that the policy framed by Sub-Cabinet Committee regarding the regularization of temporary employees should be implemented without any delay. He alleged that former Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather in league with his colleague Muhammad Akbar Lone scuttled the move of the then government to regularize the daily wagers of the State.

“These two ministers played politics over the issue and forced us to suffer as we used to suffer in the past,” he said.

He said that more than 61000 families are suffering due to the delay caused by authorities. He said that the poor, helpless and starving employees have been repeatedly lathi charged and detained to deny them their genuine rights.  Parray said that they would continue to fight for their right. 

The daily wagers threatened that they will intensify their agitation and will come on roads on daily basis in case authorities did not regularize their services. 

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