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Task force to monitor J&K employees an 'assault on their rights': Farooq Abdullah

SRINAGAR: National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Thursday termed the formation of a task force to monitor Jammu and Kashmir employees an 'assault on their rights', saying termination of some of them in a pandemic is deplorable and callous.

Abdullah called the measure of scrutinizing the Jammu and Kashmir employees with a task force an "arbitrary and unwarranted infringement" of labour rights.

The termination of employees in a pandemic is deplorable and callous, he added.

The NC president said the measure smacks of "a colonial hangover" that gives sweeping powers to the government with minimal safeguards to protect the interests of employees, thus putting them at a disadvantage of being labelled anti-national at the drop of hat.

"Such measures might be used against anybody who wounds the vanity of the government or criticises its policies. There is a stark distinction between being anti-national and having an opinion. Such a law was not required at the first place because there are already required service rules that deal with such employees who are involved in any wrong activity," he said.

The member of Parliament from Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency said the task force will impede the work culture in government departments as the employees may land up being terminated even by wounding the vanity of the higher-ups.

He said the order has further curtailed the space for freedom of speech and expression.

"The measure will provide a tool-kit to the government in labelling the employees and snub them on one or another issue. With this sword of uncertainty hanging over their heads, how is the government expecting employees to render their work in a cordial atmosphere?

"It is bound to hamper the output as well. I must say such a measure tells a lot about the priorities of the government. I hope the incumbent government will roll back the order in the better interests of the nation and the employees, who are the eyes and arms of any government," he said.

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PTI