J&K Govt Fires 6 More Employees For ‘Terror’ Links

Representational Photo

2 Cops, Two Teachers, Forest Range Officer Among Those Dismissed

Srinagar: Six government employees, including two policemen, were on Wednesday dismissed from service for their alleged links with militants in Jammu and Kashmir, taking the total number of employees sacked in last nearly six months to 25, officials said.

Among those dismissed from service earlier, there were two sons of Pakistan-based Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and tainted Deputy Superintendent of Police Davinder Singh who was caught along with a wanted militant and two others early this year.

The six employees who were dismissed by the government, include constable Showkat Ahmad Khan, a resident of Budgam who was involved in the looting of service weapons from the house of a member of legislative council in Srinagar with whom he was posted as a Personal Security Officer in 2018.

The policeman was arrested and subsequently detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) on August 8 last year, the officials said.

They said constable Jaffer Hussain Butt of Kishtwar was arrested in a case that is presently under investigation of the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The probe has revealed that Butt provided his car to Hizbul Mujahideen militants and facilitated their safe movement in his hometown, the officials said, adding that he is currently on bail since August 30.

Teacher Abdul Hamid Wani of Bijbehara in Anantnag district was also among those dismissed from service. It is alleged that before joining government service, he was a district commander of militant group Allah Tigers and propagated secessionist ideology, the officials said.

They said he had reportedly secured the employment without any selection process by leveraging Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) influence. He was a key speaker and organiser in the 2016 agitation following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.

A junior assistant in the Roads and Buildings Department, Mohd Rafi Butt of Kishtwar, is accused of having provided logistical support to Hizbul Mujahideen militant in Kishtwar, besides providing a safe environment to them to execute militant plans. He figures in an FIR registered by the NIA and is presently on bail after being arrested, the officials said.

They said teacher Liyaqat Ali Kakroo of Baramulla was appointed in government service in 1983 and was arrested in 2001 with an explosive substance. The probe against him revealed that he was a locally-trained militant.

A cache of arms was recovered from his possession in 2002 and subsequently, he was detained under the PSA for two years. However, he was acquitted by court in both the cases, the officials said, adding that two grenades were recovered from his possession again in 2021.

Range officer Tariq Mehmood Kohli of Poonch was allegedly involved in smuggling of illegal arms, ammunition and explosives, including hard drugs and fake Indian Currency Notes from Pakistan, they said.

They said Kohli, who was arrested in a case registered against him in 2010, had remained in touch with active militants and was mentioned as an overground worker in police records.

In an identical order about the dismissal of the six employees, the General Administration Department (GAD) said the Lt Governor was satisfied after considering the facts and circumstances of the cases and on the basis of the information available that the activities of these employees were such as to warrant their dismissal from service.

"...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... Accordingly, the Lieutenant Governor hereby dismisses... from service, with immediate effect," the order said mentioning the name of each sacked employee.

On July 11, as many as 11 employees, including two sons of the Hizbul Mujahideen chief, were dismissed from service.

Earlier in April-May, the administration dismissed seven employees, including DSP Davinder Singh.

Idrees Jan, a teacher from North Kashmir's Kupwara district was the first government employee to be sacked from service for anti-national activities on May 1.

His dismissal came barely a week after the Union Territory administration constituted a Special Task Force (STF) empowered to look into allegations against government employees of involvement in anti-state activities and recommend dismissal of those found involved.

Govt Sending a Wrong Signal To Workforce: Tarigami

Meanwhile CPI(M) leader and PAGD spokesperson Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Wednesday said the summary dismissal of employees with suspected militant links was sending a wrong signal to the workforce in Jammu and Kashmir.

He urged the UT administration to afford the affected persons a hearing before taking a final decision.

"If at all, there are serious allegations against anybody, the procedure is laid down, which is to give them a notice, provide them an opportunity of being heard. That is the least which the government should do," Tarigami said.

He was reacting to the administration's decision to terminate six employees for suspected militant links.

The communist leader said the administration should also consider the impact of these summary dismissals on the general working and psyche of the employees.

"Virtually, it sends a message of creating fear among the larger sections of the employees and, I am afraid, it will impact the psyche and the working of the government employees adversely," he said.

Tarigami said employees are the instruments of carrying forward the development and governance agenda.

"This is a machinery and if this machinery is frightened or demoralised, it will affect the functioning of the government itself," he added.

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