Srinagar: The PDP-BJP coalition government ordered all government employees to attend the main function on India’s Independence Day at Bakshi Stadium in Srinagar.
“All the officers and officials of the state government stationed at Srinagar are enjoined upon to attend the main function of the (I-Day) celebration at the Bakshi Stadium as a part of their official duty,” reads a government order issued by commissioner secretary to the administrative department.
All administrative secretaries, head of departments, managing directors and chief executives of the public sector undertakings “are requested to ensure that all officials working under their administrative control attend the function.”
The government also directed the managing directors of the SRTC Limited and Tourism Development Corporation Limited to ensure that the buses of their corporations ferry employees of moving departments at Srinagar.
They have been asked to report at their allotted government colonies, hotels or security zones at 7:30am on August 15.
For the past 25 years, India’s Independence Day and Republic Day have been observed as ‘Black Days’ in the Valley. A curfew-like shutdown marks these days. In the past, people used to put off lights in the night to express their disdain for Indian rule.
However, military and police parades, interspersed with “cultural programmes” are organised by the government at various venues where politicians and bureaucrats hoist the Indian flag.
People avoid such venues, which are fortified like garrisons. In the past, policemen in civvies would be asked to attend these functions to lend them some respectability.
Last year, Omar Abdullah-led NC-Congress coalition had made it mandatory for government employees to attend Republic Day functions, failing which the government had warned of disciplinary action.
However, as has been witnessed, there are hardly any takers for such orders. The Bakshi Stadium, the main venue for official function in the Valley, remains out of bounds for public.
Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani on Monday called for a statewide shutdown on August 15.
While appealing the teachers, students and their parents for completely boycotting the August 15 functions, the 85-year-old leader cautioned the government machinery “not to force” the teachers and students of the educational institutions to participate in these functions.