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Rights

J&K Admin Dismisses 6 Employees Under Law Which Bypasses Need for Inquiry

These sackings come days after the J&K administration notified new rules under which employees can be dismissed from service if they or their family members are found to be “sympathetic” to people accused under the UAPA.

New Delhi: Six employees of the Jammu and Kashmir government, including two police constables, have been dismissed over what the administration has claimed are their links with terrorists, the news agency PTI has reported.

Scroll.in has reported that the termination orders, which the news portal accessed, did not mention any lapses or misconduct of the terminated employees.

These sackings were cleared by a designated committee of the Jammu and Kashmir administration constituted for recommending cases under Article 311(2)(c) of the constitution.

The Article 311 of the constitution of India deals with the “dismissal, removal or reduction in rank of persons employed in civil capacities under the Union or a State” after holding inquiry against them.

As Jehangir Ali had written for The Wire, while the law gives “reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of those charges” to the suspect employees, section 2 (c), which has been invoked by the J&K administration, bypasses the condition of inquiry if “the President or the Governor…is satisfied that in the interest of the security of the State, it is not expedient to hold such inquiry.”

The Article 311 was not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir when the erstwhile state had special status under the Article 370 of the constitution.

In July, 11 employees were sacked by the J&K’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha without what many had alleged was a fair investigation.

The list had Razia Akhtar, whose father Mohammad Sultan, a member of Jamaat-e-Islami, was reportedly killed by Ikhwanis, the dreaded militiamen who unleashed terror on locals during the heydays of the insurgency.

It also included Syed Ahmad Shakeel and Shahid Yousuf, sons of the Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin.

A senior official in the administration had told Jehangir Ali then that the government has identified hundreds of employees, mostly from Muslim-majority Kashmir, who are seen to be working against the “security of the State.”

Govt claims on backgrounds of employees

The six employees sacked include one Abdul Hamid Wani, a teacher of Bijbehara in Anantnag. Officials have alleged that before joining government service, Wani was a district commander of the now-defunct terrorist outfit, Allah Tigers, and secured his job by allegedly “leveraging influence of the banned Jamaat-e-Islami”.

The J&K administration has claimed, according to PTI, that Wani organised some of the 2016 agitations following the death of Burhan Wani of the Hizbul Mujahideen. Wani’s death had unleashed a massive wave of protests across the Valley and led to the death of several protesters.

Police constable Jaffer Hussain Butt, a resident of Kishtwar in Jammu region, was arrested by the police and chargesheeted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a case on gun-running.

Out on bail, Butt is alleged to have provided his car to Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists and facilitated their safe movement.

Junior assistant Mohd Rafi Butt, also a resident of Kishtwar and posted in the Road and Building Department, was sacked for allegedly providing logistical support to Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in Kishtwar. He, too, is on bail.

Liyaqat Ali Kakroo, a resident of Baramulla in North Kashmir and a teacher since 1983, was arrested in 2001. The government has claimed he is a “locally trained terrorist.” He was additionally booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) for two years in 2002.

Notably, Kakroo was acquitted by the court in both cases.

Tariq Mehmood Kohli, a resident of Poonch and posted as a range officer in the Forest Department, was sacked for allegedly being involved in smuggling of weapons, drugs and fake currency notes from Pakistan. Police have claimed that he is an over-ground worker for militants.

Another police constable, Showkat Ahmad Khan, a resident of Budgam in Central Kashmir, is alleged to have been involved in looting of weapons from an MLC’s house.

Heightened attention on employees

These sackings come days after the J&K administration notified new rules under which employees can be dismissed from service if they or their family members are found to be “sympathetic” to people accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA).

A few days before this, the administration had made vigilance clearance mandatory for government employees who apply for passports.

These laws, activists say, are being increasingly used to quell dissent and could seriously impact freedom of speech for six lakh government employees of Jammu and Kashmir.

(With PTI inputs)