ln a bizzare move, hundreds of teachers recruited under special employment package for Kashmiri Pandits are enjoying unofficial holidays since 2016 summer unrest which resulted in prolonged closure of schools.
While the schools resumed functioning since last November, all these teachers left the Valley and are yet to return to their respective schools.
“Even these teachers didn’t return after reopening of schools in March after two months of winter vacation. They have not reported to their respective DDOs till date. Their absence has taken a toll on the academics in the schools,” a top official said.
The officials said over 450 teachers recruited under special employment package for Kashmiri Pandits in Anantnag district have shifted along with their families to Jammu, Delhi and many other cities.
“During last year’s summer agitation, when schools were closed in Kashmir valley, all these teachers left the Valley as they were feeling insecure,” the official said.
Interestingly, all the government schools from primary to Higher Secondary level are functioning smoothly however, most of these teachers have not returned.
“Around 70 percent of these government teachers haven’t came back from their homes and resumed their duties . But government continues to credit salaries in their bank accounts,” the official said.
He said it was not the case in South Kashmir districts but a phenomenon witnessed throughout Kashmir.
“This is not the case only with Anantnag district but in all the districts of Kashmir we find more than 50 percent of teachers are absconding and government is in a deep slumber,” the official said.
He said the government has not taken any action against these teachers for their prolonged absence from duties however, the people at the helm of affairs are trying their best to release the salary in their favor without any hassles.
“In past months, some Drawing and Disbursing Officers had decided to withhold salary of these teachers but the officials came under political pressure and the salary was released in favor of these teachers,” the official said.
Also, there was an order issued by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir that the salaries of migrant employees should be released without any delay.
“These employees (teachers) had submitted their representation to the divisional Commissioner that they were denied salary by concerned DDOs. Instead of ascertaining reasons the DDOs were directed to immediately clear their wages,” a senior official in education Department said.
The official however said most of the teachers recruited under this special package have returned but a good number of teachers have not resumed duties in their respective schools.
“In some districts most of the teachers have reported back but in many other cases the teachers are yet to join duties,” the official said.
Interestingly, the callous attitude by government to ensure presence of these teachers in schools have created a void in the teaching community who accuse the government of discrimination against the local teachers recruited under different schemes.
“We have a community of ReT teachers who are regularly taking classes of students but are never paid their wages on time while as the other group is enjoying unofficial holidays but are getting paid on time,” said a group of ReT teachers.
Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) G N Itoo was not available for his comments despite repeated attempts.