SRINAGAR: The hunger strike by members of National Youth Corps Association, demanding continuation of their services, entered day 45 on Thursday.
The protesters, who have threatened to go for self-immolation today, have been asking the government to implement the cabinet order no 737-Edu of 2014 passed by the former chief minister, Omar Abdullah, a month before he left the office last year.
Over 6000 educated but un-employed youth were engaged as volunteers under ‘National Youth Corps’ scheme on an honorarium of Rs 2500 per month in 2010 for a period of two years by the government. The engagements were made in the backdrop of massive street protests in Kashmir during which more than 120 youth were killed in police and CRPF action.
The government deployed and assigned these volunteers different jobs in several departments including Health, Rural Development, Social welfare, LAWDA, Education, Traffic and Disaster management.
After the volunteers were disengaged, government, in 2014, during NC-Congress regime, issued an order to engage these NYC volunteers in school education department against the vacancies created in newly 800 upgraded schools. The PDP-BJP government has refused to implement the order citing financial implications, forcing the youth to go on hunger strike at Pratap Park fromSeptember 01.
Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu, who has visited the NYC camp in the park twice during these 45 days, told Kashmir Reader that the govt was yet to decide anything about the issue.
“As of now there is a status quo on the issue from the government,” he said.
“The above order was mistakenly passed without the concurrence of finance and planning department,” Drabu added.
During the recently concluded autumn assembly session, the government said that the number of “factual inaccuracies and infirmities” had been noticed in the order and the issue would be resubmitted to the cabinet shortly.
Asked whether the government is taking the issue onOctober 19 cabinet meeting, Drabu said he has not received the agenda of the meeting yet.
However the NYC volunteers are not ready to give up.President NYC association, Asif Ali Bhat, said that the outcome of the hunger strike will “either be fulfillment of our demands or our death”.
“As the government has not implemented the cabinet order regarding our regularisation, we will immolate ourselves and the government will be responsible,” Asif said.