#JusticeForAll: Kashmir Reacts to Denial of Govt Jobs for Terror-Accused Families

In a recent interview, Home Minister said, ‘In Kashmir, we have taken a decision that if someone joins a terrorist organisation, their family members will not get any government job’.

Union Home Minister Shah’s statement that no family member of any terrorist nor close relatives of stone pelters will get government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir has drawn criticism from mainstream political parties, which called it “illegal and extrajudicial”.

Shah, in an interview to PTI, said, “In Kashmir, we have taken a decision that if someone joins a terrorist organisation, their family members will not get any government job.” Similarly, if someone indulges in stone pelting, his family members will also not get a government job, he said. The Union minister said some human rights activists went to the Supreme Court against the decision but, in the end, the government prevailed.

Following his statement, some regional party leaders said the Union ministry already implemented this decision in the Valley in 2019. The government is not only denying clearance to government job aspirants, if any of their family members is found linked to militancy or separatism, it has also denied travel documents to people on similar grounds, said the leaders.

Former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti termed Shah’s statement a “collective punishment” to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“They just need an excuse to punish us. Instead of giving us new jobs, they have dismissed hundreds of our employees without any proof or trial, on fictitious grounds. All the recruitment processes during the last five years have been marred by scams and cancelled, thus depriving the hard working aspirants of job opportunities,” Mehbooba told The Indian Express. “In short, they (the Union government) have been giving collective punishment to the people of J&K. Rapists, murderers and other criminals are out campaigning for them all across the country and our innocent people are languishing in jails,” she said.

The PDP chief said let the Home Minister first bother about the promises made to the youths of the country and then think about Kashmir. “As if they have given jobs to all the youths of the country as promised by them during the 2014 elections… (they) promised to provide two crore jobs every year, which means 20 crore jobs (should have been given) by now,” she said. “Today, the country is facing its highest unemployment record in the last 50 years. Let them first fulfil their poll commitments to the youths of the country and then bother about us, Kashmiris.”

Calling the decision an outcome of the Centre’s mindset that it can “do anything to the Kashmiris”, senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar said such a policy could have a huge impact on Kashmir.

“It is a highhanded approach and there is nothing legal about it,” Akhtar told The Indian Express. “They (government) have already been implementing this policy since 2019. It is not just about recruitment (in government services) of anybody from such families or their extended families, but people are being dismissed after 20-25 years of service for having any past link or link of their family member. Police clearances are denied to such people not just for government jobs but also for seeking passports or contract cards. This is an unfortunate situation.”

Akhtar said the most dangerous part of this policy is that it can be used against anyone. “There is no legal scrutiny to it, you can apply this to anybody,” he said. “I have been a chief spokesperson and a minister in the (former) PDP-BJP coalition government. I have been denied a passport, I have been on a look out notice. I have not been able to visit my family (in the UK) for eight years,” Akhtar said.

National Conference spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said, “It is unfortunate. If one family member goes astray, the other members or the extended family should not be held responsible for it.” “Let the judiciary decide about it.”

Sadiq questioned the decision’s “selective applicability” in J&K. “If it is not applicable anywhere else in India, why in Kashmir,” he asked. “Let’s take crime of any sort. It is the individual who does it, the family can’t be held responsible. In fact, in the majority of the cases, the family invariably is not aware of such activities,” Sadiq said.  Source

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