Srinagar: J&K Higher Education Department in Monday said it will not pay salaries to college contractual teachers for the lockdown period including last year’s Kashmir lockdown post abrogation of Article 370. The move has left high and dry the hundreds of aggrieved college teachers and their families amid the current lockdown. The teachers-comprising lecturers and teaching assistants and hired by the department at degree colleges under the academic arrangementsaid that the department had failed to release their salaries since August last year “despite directions from the J&K High Court” over the matter.
The court had last year directed the Higher Education Department to continue utilising the services of the teachers after the department extended their tenure earlier in the year in view of the model code of conduct due to parliamentary polls at the time. The teachers-predominantly comprising lecturers and teaching assistants- continued their duties hereupon before the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 last year triggered a Kashmir lockdown and academic activities came to a standstill. Now that there was no class work for the months following the lockdown, the teachers will not be paid, Commissioner Secretary Higher Education Department, Talat Parvez Rohella told Kashmir Reader. He said the teachers will get the dues only for the period the classwork was conducted at the colleges.
“There have been no classes since August, so where does the question of salary come from? Their engagement has started only from March 5,” Parvez said, adding the teachers will get what was their “legitimate due”. But the aggrieved teachers flayed Parvez’s statement and said that the department’s decision to continue utilising the services and denying them their dues did not add up. “If we are not supposed to get salaries, then why have we been asked to conduct online classes during the current lockdown?” an aggrieved teacher asked. The teachers wondered how they were not meant to be entitled to their dues when the department had owned them upon directions from the J&K High Court. They said that the department’s denial of their salaries had put them and their families in a “crisis situation” amid the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.