Employees threaten to boycott poll duty after presiding officer’s killing in Shopian

SRINAGAR: A day after the killing of a polling officer in an attack by suspected militants in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, a prominent body of government employees on Friday threatened to boycott the election duty if the government fails to ensure security of the employees.
According to a statement from Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC-Q), an emergency session was held under the chairmanship of Abdul Qayoom Wani. “The session cautioned the divisional administration that they should understand the sensitivity of the issue, and in case the government fails to ensure the security of life, property and honour of employees, the EJAC may be forced to go for boycott of polling duty, as life is the priority duty,” the statement said.
On Thursday evening, suspected militants opened fire on a vehicle carrying polling party at Nagbal village of Shopian. A teacher identified as Zia-ul-Haq Wani, of Hurpora, Shopian, who was a presiding officer, was killed and five others including a polling staff member Zubair Ahmad Indrabi, also belonging to Shopian, was injured.
The EJAC deeply regretted the Shopian incident and expressed sympathy with the bereaved family. “The state government has taken the employees as slaves and has failed to ensure the security of life, property and honour of the employees,” the statement said.
Quoting Wani, who is also the president of EJAC-Q and chairman of the Teachers’ Forum, it said the state employees are public servants, not the slaves of the government who can be used as per the will of the government.
“During the election duty state government has failed in providing security to the employees, of which late Master Zia-ul-Haq Wani and the injured employee is a glaring proof,” the statement quoted Wani as saying.
It said the incident has made the employees’ fraternity insecure.
“After the end of polling, the employees are left high and dry. (On Thursday) some had to spend their night in open and had to face wrath of stone pelters in Pulwama, Islamabad, Shopian and other areas, besides the high handedness of a police officer,” the stamen added.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Teachers’ Forum and Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) Teachers’ Forum on Friday declared that as a mark of protest against the teacher’s killing, all the government schools and colleges in Kashmir Valley would remain closed on Saturday, April 26.
In Shopian, all government schools and colleges remained shut on Friday in memory of the deceased teacher Zia-ul-Haq Wani.
Wani was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard at Hurpora. Hundreds of people participated in his last rites, reports said. Hurpora and its adjoining areas observed a complete shutdown while protestors clashed with CRPF personnel at Meemandar and Hurpora hamlets. Local residents alleged that soon after the polling came to an end on Thursday evening, the CRPF troopers assaulted people without any reason.
Chairman ReT Teachers Forum Jammu and Kashmir, Ghazi Abdul Aziz also said that they have decided to suspend the work in all government schools and colleges of Kashmir Valley on Saturday against the killing of Zia-ul-Haq.
Jammu and Kashmir Teachers Forum has also called for a complete strike in government schools and colleges on Saturday.
In a separate statement, president Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK) Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan urged the government employees to “show courage by refusing poll duty.”