40 employees injured, 20 held in Kashmir

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Srinagar, May 5: About 40 government employees were injured when police resorted to baton charge to disperse them during a demonstration near civil secretariat on the first day of the two-day general strike called by Jammu and Kashmir Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC).

More than 20 employees were arrested during the demonstration as work in the government offices, including hospitals and educational institutions was affected due to strike.

However, emergency service in the government offices was functioning normally.

Thousands of employees gathered near Exhibition, half a km from civil secretariat, which houses the offices of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, his cabinet colleagues and top bureaucrats.

Holding black flags, the employees, including women, were raising slogans against the state government for its failure to fulfill their demands which included raising retirement age from 58 to 60 years, five day week in all government offices, regularisation of all daily wagers and adhoc employees and medi-claim for all.

The strike is also against government's failure to control the price rise of essential commodities, a spokesman of the EJAC said.

The trouble started when the employees marched towards the secretariat. However, a large number of police and CRPF personnel deployed in the area prevented them from marching ahead.

However, when the employees insisted that they should be allowed to enter the secretariat, where the darbar move offices reopened for the first time in summer capital today, police resorted to lathicharge to disperse them.

Police also used colour water to disperse them which too had no impact on the demonstrators, who were trying to break the police cordon and enter secretariat.

Official sources said about 40 employees, including some women were injured in the police action and stampede. Majority injured employees were given first aid in the nearby medical shops.

They said more than 20 employees were also taken into custody by the police.

Meanwhile, state secretary of the Communist Part of India (M) Mohammad Yousuf Targami and president CITU has strongly condemned police action against employees.

He termed the use of police action as unfortunate.

Mr Targami urged the government to release the employees who were arrested and initiate negotiations with their representatives for an amicable and lasting solution of all issues.

UNI

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