SRINAGAR: The employees of the Information Department have done on an indefinite strike demanding the government revoke the attachment order of Joint Director Information, Kashmir, Zahoor Ahmad Mir.
The government on Tuesday had attached Zahoor after an RTI application uncovered some irregularities in releasing advertisements to a newspaper.
“All the offices of the Information department, both in Kashmir and Jammu divisions, will remain shut till the attachment order of Joint Director Kashmir is revoked,” a news agency quoted a spokesman of the Information Department Employees Union (IDEU) as saying.
The Union spokesman, according to the agency, said that neither advertisements nor official press releases will be issued till the attachment order is revoked.
“The employees of the advertisement wings at the offices of Joint Director Information Kashmir/Jammu are subjected to frequent intimidation and harassment by some small-time editors, demanding lion’s share of advertisements and other monetary benefits for their publications,” the spokesman was quoted by the news agency.
He said that the Joint Director should have been given the chance to clear his position, but the government has never given a chance to employees to clear their position on any matter.
“In the recent past, the frequency of such intimidating incidents has increased alarmingly, and last week an editor while barging into the office of Joint Director Information Kashmir abused the officers there and even threatened to get them eliminated if his publication is not given bulk share of advertisements,” the agency quoted the spokesman as saying. “In a similar incident that took place earlier this year, FIR already stands lodged against one such editor for threatening and browbeating the employees of the advertisement wing of the office of Joint Director Information, Kashmir.
The IDEU has sought the personal intervention of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Information Minister Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali in ensuring the security and dignity of the employees who are working almost round the clock.
The IDEU has also urged prominent editors’ associations in Kashmir and Jammu divisions to take cognizance of the disturbing scenario wherein some “small-time editors” are resorting to highhandedness and strong-arming of employees for petty monetary gains.