J&K Govt Approves Scheme to Streamline Promotions of Kashmiri Pandits

The move comes amidst protests by Kashmiri Pandits against targeted killings of community members by terrorists. 

New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has approved a scheme to promote employees of the Prime Minister’s Development Package, in what is being seen as a step to ensure that Kashmiri Pandit government staff can move to safer locations.

The move comes amidst protests by Kashmiri Pandits against targeted killings of community members by terrorists. On June 7, Kashmiri Pandit migrant employees held a candle light protests, which saw presence of their children, in Vessu camp located in South Kashmir demanding relocation outside the Valley.

In Jammu, Dogra employees have been assembling under the banner of All Jammu-based Reserved Categories Employees Association to press their demand for transfer from the Valley to their home districts in the Jammu region.

The Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council approved a scheme on Wednesday that will streamline promotions of employees engaged under the Prime Minister’s Development Package.

Also read: Just Making Films Won’t Help, Kashmiri Pandits Tell BJP

The Prime Minister’s Development Package was rolled out in the financial year 2008-09 for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants to the Kashmir Valley. It included various incentives such as housing, employment and transit accommodations.

The employment component of the package extended jobs to 6,000 eligible candidates by creating various supernumerary posts in different departments.

“The move will remove the bottleneck in career progression of employees appointed under the package,” PTI quoted an official spokesman as having said after a meeting of the Administrative Council chaired by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

“The scheme envisages maintaining a separate seniority for Kashmiri Pandit employees appointed under the package by respective departments which will run parallel to the seniority of regular employees and will take effect from the date of appointment against the supernumerary posts,” the spokesman said.

The Administrative Council sanctioned creation of pre-facto supernumerary posts at corresponding higher levels to pave the way for timely career progression of Kashmiri migrant employees by reducing the supernumerary posts at lower levels in the same ratio.

These promotions will be based on seniority and eligibility requirements under recruitment rules, the spokesman said.

All posts under the package have been re-designated as divisional-level posts in Kashmir Division. This means that employees can be transferred anywhere within the 20 districts in the Kashmir and Jammu divisions, according to Indian Express.

“The new structure will provide avenues for in-situ promotion to all such employees according to their eligibility and seniority,” he said.

The implementation of the scheme will be monitored at the highest level to ensure that the eligible employees avail the benefits of the scheme at the earliest, he additionally claimed.

Express has quoted a Kashmiri Pandit employee, who did not wish to be named, as having said that while the move does not quell security concerns, it “does resolve issues with regard to promotions.”

In May, two Lashkar terrorists shot dead a Kashmiri Pandit employee, 35-year-old Rahul Bhat, in a crowded government office in Budgam district in central Kashmir.

In the same month, terrorists shot a Kashmiri teacher, Rajni Bala, in Kulgam district.

Two days later, in June, a bank employee from Rajasthan, Vijay Kumar, was shot dead in Kulgam.

The local Bharatiya Janata Party wing had, meanwhile, pressed for minority community employees to be posted in “secure areas” within Kashmir itself.

(With PTI inputs)