Police on Monday lathicharged government employees in Jammu and Kashmir when they tried to march towards the Secretariat here in support of their demand for release of Sixth Pay Commission arrears by the State government.
Total strike was observed for the third consecutive day in government offices, civil secretariat, PSUs and autonomous bodies in connection with the call given by Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) and Civil Secretariat Employees union (CSEU) in support of the demand for release of Pay Commission arrears and enhancement of retirement age from 58 to 60.
About 5,000 government employees assembled at City Chowk under the banner of EJAC and JCC and marched towards the civil Secretariat raising anti-government slogans.
However, heavy police force was deployed in and around the civil Secretariat — the seat of power in Jammu and Kashmir.
Led by SSP Jammu, Basant Rath, police intercepted the employees and stopped them from moving towards the Secretariat, police said adding employees clashed with the police.
Police resorted to cane charge and teargas shelling on employees resulting in minor injuries to five.
“We will continue the strike till the demands are met,” CSEU President Nazir Ahmed told reporters.
Members of opposition parties — Chaman Lal Gupta of BJP, Harsh Dev Singh of Panthers party (JKNPP) and M Y Tarigami of CPI(M) charged the Omar Abdullah government with total failure in the State Assembly to break the deadlock with striking employees.
“Over 4 lakh employees are on strike for the past several days. Government is totally defunct. How can you run the government,” they said.
Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather said the State government has asked employees to shun the path of confrontation. He said the government was sincere in fulfilling the demands of employees but it depends on availability of funds.
“We had gone to 13th Finance commission with the demand but it was turned down. Later, the Chief Minister met Prime Minister and the process is going on,” Mr. Rather said.