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Jammu and Kashmir: Pandit staffers recruited under the PM’s job package can choose posting


SRINAGAR:  The administration has directed officials to contact every Pandit employee recruited under the PM’s job package in the Valley, and ascertain their choice of posting to a safer place. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K Pole, said the transfers will be made only within the Kashmir division, and the place of the new posting will be within municipal limits or within 3 km of municipal cities.

The administration’s move comes after the migrant Kashmiri Hindus rejected the government’s decision to post them at safer places within the Valley in view of the targeted killings being done by militants. The Hindu employees are demanding for relocation to Jammu till the situation improves in the Valley. Pole has directed the heads of departments of all government departments in Kashmir to make transfers according to the convenience of the employees.

The staffers are, however, not satisfied with the latest attempt to keep them stationed in the Valley. Reacting to the order, Ranjan, a migrant employee, termed it an “eyewash”. “How is it possible to accommodate all the PM package and Jammu-based employees within 3 km of municipal limits? We work in the field. How can we do justice to the job while sitting in the DC office,” he said.

Ranjan added that most employees recruited under PM’s job package are teachers and it is not possible to post all of them in schools near cities. “There are only 3-4 schools within 3 km of municipal limits. Can 300-400 teachers be posted there?,” he asked, adding that out of the 5,500 employees, about 4,500 live in rented accommodation. “Where will the government keep them? How will the government ensure their security? What will happen to their children  who are studying in different schools?,” Ranjan asked. 

Reiterating their demand for relocation to Jammu, the Pandit employees say the temporary move will also suit the government, as it will get time to create a security plan and construct more transit accommodation for them in the Valley. On Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s assertion that forced migration won’t be allowed, he said, “Decisions should be taken as per the ground situation, which is not conducive for our safety.”

Fear has gripped the staffers serving in the Valley after a series of targeted killings have been carried out by militants since May. The employees have stayed away from duty since May 13, a day after Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat was shot dead by militants inside a Tehsil office at Chadoora in Budgam district.   Most Pandit and Jammu-based employees have already left the Valley and are camping in Jammu.