JK Govt employees go on strike demanding apology from Minister

JK Govt employees go on strike demanding apology from Minister

A day after a government official resigned from service alleging abuse by a Jammu and Kashmir minister, hundreds of engineering employees went on a pen-down strike demanding intervention of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

The employees and engineering staff of the departments of Public Health Engineering (PHE) and Irrigation and Flood Control closed their offices here and went on a strike in support of PHE Chief Engineer Muzaffar Lankar.

Lankar tendered his resignation yesterday as a protest against the alleged abuse by the Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan during a meeting which was also attended by PHE minister Sham Lal Sharma.

The employees gave a three-day ultimatum seeking an apology from the minister. They threatened to disconnect drinking water and irrigation supply in the valley as a protest if the demand was not met.

"We have closed our offices and are on pen-down strike as a mark of protest. We have not yet gone on a tool-down strike. We are giving the government three days' time to meet our demands failing which we will go on a tool-down strike and disconnect water and irrigation supply in the valley," Ghulam Ahmad Nath, chairman, All Kashmir PHE Employees Association, told reporters.

Nath demanded that the government should register an FIR and conduct an inquiry into the incident.

"We condemn this attitude of the minister. The government must register an FIR and conduct an inquiry. The minister should resign and the government should not accept the resignation of the official," he said.

Nath said the chief minister is aware of Lankar's credentials and should intervene in the matter.

"The chief minister himself is an honest man and treats the honest officers very well. Omar knows that Lankar is an honest man and he was the chief engineer only because of his honesty. The CM should intervene," he said.

The employees alleged the ministers had been indulging in such misbehavior with the officials time and again.

"The ministers have been doing this time and again against the employees. We are not the slaves of the politicians but the people. We will not tolerate this anymore," Hidayat-ullah, spokesman of the Kashmir Engineering Association, said.

Meanwhile, Kashmir PHE Joint Employees Association also took out a protest rally against the minister at Press Colony here.

The association demanded the minister's resignation threatening of non-cooperation with the government.

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