| Ghulam Nabi Azad
Srinagar, March 10: The state government has ordered the dismissal of a doctor, two junior engineers and a Kashmir University lecturer along with 14 other employees for alleged militant links.
An official said this was the first time the Jammu and Kashmir government was sacking members of these professions on the charge of helping the rebels. “The rest are gardeners and other class IV staff.”
The decision was taken last night by a cabinet meeting, presided over by chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, on the recommendation of police and intelligence agencies.
“Yes, they have been dismissed for their links with the militants,’’ consumer affairs and public distribution minister Taj Mohiuddin said.
“Twelve out of the 18 are government employees and the rest work in banks, Kashmir University or some other semi-government department,” a senior official said.
“The orders for the dismissal of the 12 government employees will go to the governor for approval. For the rest, recommendations for dismissal have been sent to their respective institutions.”
The official said the men had been under police scrutiny for years. “The dossiers were prepared in 2005 and in 2006, we completed the formalities.” No independent inquiries were conducted, though.
The decision came in the absence of the ministers from the People’s Democratic Party, which had boycotted the cabinet meeting over the government’s refusal to discuss demilitarisation and troops withdrawal.
“We will discuss the issue on Monday,’’ said PDP leader and finance minister Tariq Hameed Qarra.
The government was trying to keep the dismissals under wraps because of the political sensitivities involved. “I cannot reveal their names unless the governor gives his approval,’’ the official said.
The men have been arres-ted and detained for varying periods.
“The majority of them are now free but the cases against them are continuing in the courts,” the official said.