SRINAGAR: The finance minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu, on Wednesday had to cut a sorry figure as he failed to convince the aggrieved members of National Youth Corps (NYC) to end their indefinite hunger strike.
The NYC members are on hunger strike from the past nine days as they continue to protest against non-implementation of Cabinet Order regarding their adjustments in various government departments.
The members maintain that they would not call off the strike until the government gives them assurances in writing.
Meanwhile, a large number of female members of the NYC on Wednesday morning held a sit-in protest outside the residence of the PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.
Later, after meeting Mehbooba, they were assured that the government would listen to their grievances and would try to resolve their issues.
In the late afternoon, finance minister Haseeb Drabu visited the protest venue and talked to them. The finance minister tried to convince the protesters to call off their strike so that the government could see the possible way out to resolve their issues.
“It is not only you but the 60 thousand casual labours and daily wagers who are yet to be absorbed in government services. We working on it and soon expect a positive outcome,” Drabu said while addressing the protesters.
The finance minister later tried to highlight the economic crises being faced by Jammu and Kashmir, saying there is no money with the government that it could clear the pending G.P Fund cases of the employees. “We have cancer patients in the government waiting to get their G.P Fund cases cleared from the past three months. I have no money. The state is facing liabilities of the previous regime,” Drabu said.
The NYC members while responding to Drabu’s speech said in unison that they do not want any salaries but only ask the government not to terminate their services. “Please Darbu sahib don’t compare us with casual labors. We have been appointed under the cabinet order. We only want our positions back. Till you do not give us the written assurance of continuing our services, we are not going to call off our strike,” one of the NYC member told Drabu.
“Either give our honor back or take our dead bodies out from this place, said Ahtisham Ahmad in his speech as Drabu was listening patiently. “You are using the old rhetoric. We want written assurance. Don’t say you cannot do anything. We don’t want these utterances,” Ahtisham said, forcing Drabu to leave from the venue red faced.
The finance minister while approaching to his cavalcade also skipped all questions posed by scribes including the hike in commercial taxes and government’s plan to end sufferings of the NYCs.