Kashmir Indepth

Authorities at Higher Edu Dept mentally harass & humiliate us, say college contractuals, seek intervention of LG, Advisor

KINS Correspondent

SRINAGAR August 17(KINS): Jammu and Kashmir College Contractual Teachers Association (JKCCTA) Monday claimed that authorities at Higher Education Department were mentally harassing and humiliating them.

Addressing a press conference, spokesperson of JKCCTA Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Rather, highlighted the long pending issues of college contractual lecturers and teaching assistants working on academic arrangement basis in different colleges of Jammu and Kashmir from last 20 years.

Dr. Iqbal said, “We have been subjected to the utmost humiliation by the Higher Education Department.”

“We have always worked at par with the permanent faculty of the department (wherever available). We have carried out all our assignments with complete dedication, enthusiasm, honesty and zest,” he told the press conference as per news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

Deliberating on this issue, Dr. Iqbal said  the department has never paid any attention to address their genuine demand for regularization and job policy.

 While highlighting the highhandedness of the department he mentioned that the department is hell-bent to ruin the future of this highly qualified lot as most of the candidates working in the system have crossed the upper age limit or are at the verge of turning to be highly qualified, overaged, unemployed youth of the developed democracy.

“This long span of thankless service to the department has never been less than a nightmare to us. Every second day the department has used all the means to mentally harass and humiliate the candidates. Whenever we approached the authorities regarding our genuine demands we have been handed false promises and hopes. When we talk of elected governments or bureaucracy, everyone has his own demand to meet. We were not as good as other employees who were regularized through many SRO’S, and especially CIVIL SERVICES SPECIAL PROVISIONS ACT, 2010. Point to be noted here is that prior to the passing of this Act the authorities in 2009 deliberately changed the nomenclature of contractual lecturers to the academic arrangement lecturers just to keep us at bay and divest us from the benefits of CIVIL SERVICES SPECIAL PROVISIONS ACT, 2010.”

Back in 2011 he said they were on about two month’s long hunger strike at Srinagar.

“Almost all the colleges in the UT are being run by the academic arrangement candidates same was the case then and due to this strike the academics in the colleges was highly disturbed. The then commissioner secretary of Higher Education, Tanveer Jahan called us to the table to find a viable solution to address the issue. Rounds of talks were held between the higher ups and the representation of the contractual lecturers. Even the then chief minister of the state Omar Abdullah sent his two senior ministers  Mustafa Kamal and Ghulam Hassan Mir) and the government and bureaucracy at that time assured us of job policy and reservation in the post to be advertised by the PSC. As we all are aware of the scheme of things in Kashmir, it took Department nearly three years to create and refer the posts and in 2014 PSC advertise total of 1500 posts, but we were once again ditched and left empty handed, and not a single post was reserved for the internal candidates (contractual lecturers).”

“Again we were the victims of a big political stunt and nothing came our way. We have worked for mere 5000 rupees and our salaries were enhanced only back in 2018 from 12000 to 22000 and 18000 to 28000. When Equal pay Equal work is in the current, but here in the forgotten valley of political dacoits we are being forced to live without salaries for months and years altogether. Whenever we tried to approach the authorities for our regularisation, they put forth the technical issues on the pretext that UGC has no provisions for it. But time and again they have been proved wrong and their ill designs have been exposed by the Governments of other states and Union Territories.”

“Whether, we take the example of West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and other states. Recently the Himachal Pradesh government has passed an order to regularize all the candidates working on academic arrangement. Are we not like citizens? Then why the academic arrangement candidates of Jammu and Kashmir higher education department are being treated like this. Don’t they deserve a better life? We came in through proper channel, we are not backdoor entries. After possessing the eligible qualifications and falling in the merit list, then only we are here. This colonial mindset of use and throw policy of the system has sabotaged our minds. During these more than two decade eligibility criteria for this post has been changed numbers of times. Earlier it was just P.G, then M. Phil, then NET/SET, then P.HD and Now NET / PHD. The candidate, who joined the system at the age of 28 and has devoted a prime 25 years of his career to the department, is now aged 53 and has nowhere to go. After witnessing the step motherly treatment, humiliation, demotion, degradation and alteration in the nomenclature and the nature of the job, about 1200 hundred candidates working on academic arrangement basis in both the regions of the Union Territory moved to High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to secure their job and seek justice, which is our fundamental right. High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and CAT after analyzing our petitions issued Status Quo (interim relief that the position of the candidates must not be disturbed till the final disposal of the case) in our favor. The department was going well with the Status Quo of the candidates and was maintaining the position of the petitioners and had released our salaries till July 2019. “

He said after that they have faced the toughest phase of our lives. “Post July 2019 period has been very tough for us and the present challenge of Covid-19 has added to our miseries. The High Court from time to time issued directions to the department in order to release the salaries of the candidates and to our surprise the department never abided by those orders and directions, which highlight the whimsical approach and highhandedness of the Higher Education Department. The High Court also asked for an affidavit from the Department Higher Education to confirm their stand towards the court cases. In their response the Director Colleges along with all the Principals of the Degree Colleges acknowledged the Court Case and submitted the affidavit mentioning that they have not disturbed the position of the petitioners and are maintaining our Status Quo. But in reality they have made the contempt of the court and have not released our salaries from August 2019 to February 2020,” he added.

They have requested Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, Advisor Higher Education KK Sharma and all the concerned authorities to take personal interest in resolving this grave and long pending issue.

“Till the government comes up with some concrete roadmap and job policy and it is requested that the pending salaries should be released at the earliest,” they said.(KINS)

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