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Court threat over job loss
- Arunachal and Manipur employees on the warpath

Itanagar, Feb. 15: The Confederation of Service Association of Arunachal Pradesh has threatened to go to court in protest against the termination of its chairman Geli Kamki and spokesperson Tagom Mibang from service yesterday.

The arrest of the two last Wednesday sparked an angry reaction from thousands of striking state government employees, who tried to gherao Itanagar police station last Thursday, prompting the Papum Pare administration to deploy paramilitary forces in the capital.

The association’s leaders were booked under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma), which was invoked by the state government last Tuesday, and remanded in seven days’ judicial custody.

The deputy commissioner of Papum Pare, Bidol Tayeng, on February 11 clamped Section 144 CrPC banning all meetings involving both the Itanagar and Aalo-based factions of the association.

The president of the association, Pate Marik, today said the imposition of a “draconian law” on 86,000 government employees in the state is an “assault” on the common man’s rights and his association would knock on the door of Gauhati High Court in protest against the “unjustified” termination of the arrested leaders.

“The invocation of a draconian law like Esma on 86,000 employees in the state is a gross violation of Articles 14, 16 and 309 of the Constitution which ensures right to equality and right to employment in a democratic nation. With the invocation of such an act, obviously for muzzling the voice of employees, the state government had set a bad precedent. We will not sit idle and go to Gauhati High Court in protest against the state government’s decision to terminate Geli Kamki and Tagom Mibang from service yesterday,” Marik said.

He alleged that the state government did not pay any heed to the demands on revision of pay scales that included conveyance, house rent and transport allowances.

A departmental committee of the state administration had recommended to the Union home ministry revised pay structures, commensurate pay package with Assam government employees, for the employees of the state in 1975.

Marik said the state government employees, who are under-paid, would boycott upcoming parliamentary and Assembly polls in the state, and would not carry out election duty.

The employees have found an ally in the Opposition BJP, which is bent on using the agitation as a poll issue. It has turned the issue of non-implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission’s recommendations a poll plank with MPs Kiren Rijiju and Tapir Gao openly coming out in support of the employees.

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