DIPR staff begins indefinite strike after Govt attaches JD

SRINAGAR, OCT 11: The employees of Information Department have proceeded for indefinite strike demanding immediate revocation of the attachment order of Joint Director Information Kashmir, Zahoor Ahmad Mir.
“All the offices of Information Department both in Kashmir and Jammu Divisions will remain shut till the attachment order of Joint Director Kashmir is revoked,” a spokesman of the Information Department Employees Union said in a statement after an emergency meeting of the Union convened here this morning.
Meanwhile, Minister for Information Chowdhary Zulfikar said that any officer shouldn’t fear of investigations. He was referring to the attachment of joint director information.
He said an RTI application has found some irregularities and the Director information has been asked to complete the inquiry within seven days. “Let them strike. No officer should fear enquiries. If he is exonerated after the enquiry he will report to his duty,” the minister said.
President State Information Welfare Association (J&K) said all the works will remain suspended and all the advertisements issued to newspapers will remain affected till the attachment order against the Joint Director is not revoked.
“He should not have been attached without having any proof. We are not against the enquiry. But he should be allowed to work as Joint Director till the enquiry is completed. Without proof he shouldn’t be punished,” he said.
The spokesman of employees Union said neither any advertisements will be received or distributed by the Information Department nor any 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, they said.
He said that the Joint Director should have been given chance to clear his position but the government has never given a chance to the 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 spokesman said and added that 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 Information Department Employees Union has sought the personal intervention of the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti and the Information Minister, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali in ensuring the security and dignity of the employees who are working almost round the clock.
The Employees Union 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 the employees for petty monetary gains so that such unpleasant incidents are not repeated in future and both the institutions continue to work in a cordial manner. Despite repeated attempts, the Director Information couldn’t be contacted for his comments.