National

A ‘Job Bond’ That Kashmiri Pandits Say Makes Them Bonded Labourers

Under the PM’s special employment scheme for migrants, the employees have to sign a judicial agreement that they will not seek transfer outside Kashmir, which Pandits see as discriminatory and not in accordance with the law. 

Scores of families of Kashmiri Pandit migrant workers staged protests in various places.
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Once a Kashmiri migrant is recruited under the rehabilitation scheme, they have to submit a special bond that they will serve in Kashmir come what may. It is this bond that Kashmiri Pandits now want to be abrogated.

The bond says that "the government has decided to provide employment to unemployed Kashmiri migrant youth in terms of Jammu and Kashmir Migrant (Special Drive) recruitment rules 2019."

It says the migrant employees shall be terminated if they migrate from Kashmir for any reason at any stage of their service.

“The selectee agrees to serve in Kashmir valley and will not at no stage opt or seek transfer outside Kashmir valley,” reads an agreement between a Kashmiri migrant employee and the government.

“The selectee agrees that in case he or she migrates from Kashmir valley at any stage for any reason, whatsoever, he or she will stand automatically terminated from the service and shall have no claim against any post under the State,” it said.

“If the selectee wilfully neglects or refuses to perform his duty in Kashmir valley, the appointing authority shall immediately terminate his service,” reads the bond, the migrant employees are asked to sign before taking the job.

The migrant pandits say the bond should go. “Tell us a place in India where anyone is asked to write such a bond before getting a job. Why we are subjected to this kind of humiliation,” says said Ashwani Sadhu, a migrant employee.

Under the PM’s special employment scheme for migrants, the employees have to sign a judicial agreement that they will not seek transfer outside Kashmir, which pandits see as discriminatory and not in accordance with the law.

Since 2009, over 4,500 employees have been appointed under the PM’s special employment scheme and posted across Kashmir. There are another 5000 employees, who according to Kashmiri Pandits, have got jobs in the Valley under the general category.

Sadhu says the bond resembles colonial-era tactics to subdue the local population. “In British times the bonded labourers would get pension as long as they live. In our case we have to give bond that we will continue to work in Kashmir even if we see our co-workers getting killed at their workplace,” Sadhu said.

“We are on strike for the past one month. We seek a safer place for work or relocation. When I ask my officer whether he is able to offer me a safer place for work, he says he is as helpless as me. In such a situation, what can I do except seek relocation as there is no safe place in the Valley,” he says. Once the government cancels the bond, it will give liberty to the employee to seek transfer at any safer place, he adds.

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