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Mufti job stick to get back Pundits

Jammu, July 14: “Return to your posts in the Valley or lose jobs.” This is the blunt message the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government is about to deliver to more than 5,000 Kashmiri Hindu government employees, making it mandatory for them to return and serve in the Valley.

To begin with, the government wants engineers, doctors and middle-rung officials like zonal education officers, principals of schools and college teachers to return to the Valley and take up their jobs.

Mufti has asked chief secretary S.S. Bloeria to prepare a list of such employees and order them to return to their positions in Kashmir.

Those failing to rejoin duty in the Valley run the risk of losing their jobs. “That is what is going to happen to such employees,” an official source said.

The state government is aware of the possible fallout of the proposed step and the furore it is likely to create, but sources said it was a calculated risk.

The government is banking on the atmosphere in the Kashmir Valley, where tourists have returned in hundreds this summer and Kashmiri Pundits have frequently visited as tourists and pilgrims or for business talks with their Muslim neighbours and friends.

The chief minister has met many such people and that apparently encouraged him to experiment with the idea.

The backdrop of teachers being asked to return to their original postings in the rural areas from the cities has also contributed to the move.

The government has cancelled the attachment of more than 4,000 teachers in the cities and is adamant about not making concessions or reviewing its decision. Most of these teachers were attached to the institutions in the urban areas because of security risks or medical problems.

The government is inclined to take a similar decision in regard to the doctors attached to city hospitals.

As far as the security problem is concerned, the government may offer protected accommodation to such employees on the pattern of the “durbar move”. Employees are lodged in hotels and guesthouses in high security zones in Srinagar as part of the move.

The chief minister, sources said, is determined to go ahead with the “return to your posts” missive.

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