Kavita Suri

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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Jobs in J&K is a family affair

Last week when the Jammu and Kashmir High Court quashed the backdoor appointment of Shazia Khan, daughter of high-profile chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Bank M.Y. Khan, the local press chose not to publish such a significant news about quashing of her appointment which was made by the chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah himself throwing all the rules and regulations to the winds. And it was for the first time that such a high profile backdoor appointment was quashed. However, it also did not surprise many in the trouble-torn state as for the past five years of National Conference governance, the government jobs in J&K have become a family business. Examples are galore wherein gazetted officers have been appointed without any advertisements, tests or interviews. Facts regarding the appointment of class III or class IV employees are more brazen. Though a number of such appointments have been made and subsequently challenged also in the Court of law, till now not a single of such appointments had been quashed. In this significant judgment, Mr Justice R.C. Gandhi quashed the illegal appointment of Shazia Khan who was appointed as the Manager (Projects) in Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporations (JKTDC) vide order number 70-ADM/JKTDC dated 1 June 1999 against the non-existing post.  While delivering the judgment, Mr Justice Gandhji referred to the Supreme Court decision that no appointment can be made unless there is pre-existing post. The counsel for the petitioner Shiekh Shakeel Ahmed who has launched a crusade against all such illegal or backdoor appointments in the state told The Statesman that as Shazia was appointed against any existing post, the JKTDC was directed by the Court to furnish information as whether there was any existing post against which she was appointed as Manager Projects But they failed to do so. Surprisingly, Shazia was appointed by the chief minister who is very close to her father M.Y. Khan, chairman of Jammu and Kahsmir Bank in the 74th meeting of the Board of Directors of the JKTDC under the chairman of the the chief minister and the order was issued by Mr Khurshid Naqeeb, the then Managing Director of the JKTDC. Significantly, all such appointments for the gazetted cadres in Jammu and Kashmir have to be made by the J&K Public Service Commission (PSC) while all other non-gazetted appointments have been done by the J&K State Services Selection Bureau (JKSSRB). While unemployment is on rise in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and thousands of youth are coming out of the universities with degrees in their hands without finding any jobs, these are being given to the kins of ministers, MLAs, bureaucrarts and other influential persons in the state on a platter. Owais Mohammand Shafi, son of Education minister Mohammad Shafi Uri is also one such person whose appointment as Assistant Tourist officer (ATO) has been challenged in the court. Appointed “in relaxation of rules,” Owais is an undergraduate having no qualifications which make his candidature in the Tourism department suitable. Top state government officials who wanted him in the office went on to the extent of transferring the highest non-gazetted post in the department to Mumbai from Srinagar office to facilitate his appointment. The post which was of Senior receptionist was upgraded to ATO in Tourism department. Shiekh Shakeel Ahmed, advocate, who is  contesting all such appointments including that of Owais Uri also told that Owais’s appointed as ATO made by appointment order number 1421-GAD of 1998 dated 29 October 1998 was also challengeable as he was appointed by relaxing the rules. Similar are the cases of Mohammad Irshad Mir, son of National Conference (Rafiabad Baramulla) MLA Dilwar Mir and Naresh Koul, son of Mr Justice M.L. Koul of J&K High Court who have been appointed as Inspectors in excise department vide order numbers 75-GAD of 2001 dated 02.02.2000 and 165-GAD 0f 2001 dated 17.02.2000 respectively. Another J&K High Court judge Mr O.P. Sharma’s (who was the Law Secretary also) relative Vikrant Sharma has been appointed in the Hospitality and Protocol department vide order 1814-GAD of 1997 dated 19 November 1997.A writ petition challenging his appointment has already been admitted in the High Court. The sources also informed  that there are a number of cases in Chief Minister’s Secretariat who have been appointed in relaxation to all rules and regulations. “The chief minister appoints anybody and everybody on the basis of his proximity with their relatives,” the sources said adding that many girls have been appointed there as House Keeper, assistant housekeepers, kitchen in charge, Information Technology in charge (irrespective of the fact that she knows anything about IT or not) etc. One such girl is Harpreet Kour, daughter of M.P. Singh, DSP in CM’s security who has been appointed as Assistant Housekeeper. His security in charge Superintendent of Police Rashid Baba’s son-in law Abdul Ahmed War of Warpura in Ganderbal has also been appointed as Assistant Director in Hospitality and Protocol department. Regarding the appointment of Class III or Class IV employees, Shiekh Shakeel said the situation was quite bad as most of the National Conference ministers had appointed hundreds of Class IV employees. Allegations are galore that money has been taken for these appointments. Over 700 Class IV appointments made by the former education minister were quashed by Mr Justice Goel of J&K High Court last year. Similar Class IV appointments were made by agriculture, forests, health and revenue ministers over these past years. The former Health minister Govind Ram, said Shaskeel, is likely to be booked by the Vigilance department for complete backdoor  entries. As none of them knows his fate after the completion of tenure in October 2002, they are filling their coffers and getting their relatives adjusted at prime positions in the state government, said Shakeel who has waged a lone battle against the sharks in the government on these illegal appointments. There is much resentment among various political parties and other organisatins regarding such backdoor appointments in Jammu and Kashmir. Many of them have been raising this issue from time to time. Especially Jammu-based parties have been linking it to the discrimination of Jammuities on the hands of Kashmiri rulers. The Panthers Party MLA Mr Harsh Dev Singh told The Statesman that over these years, the government has made these backdoor appointments in defiance of all rules, regulations ,equity and laws. "Yeh Sarkar Bhi Backdoor hi Chal Rahi Hai", said Mr Singh .Of the over one lakh appointments that this government has made in the past five years, just 10 per cent have ben given to Jammu people while most of them have been provided to Kashmiri Muslims, he said. Similar anger is visible among displaced Kashmiri Pandits who are hardly been given any jobs in the state government.Dr Agnishekher, Convenor ,Panun Kashmir said that by the year 2006, there won't be any Kashmiri Pandit in the state government jobs. "How can you expect that a poor displaced KP who is living in miserable conditions in migrant camps can shell out even Rs 60,000 as bribe for getting a Class IV job. The higher is the post, the higher is the bribe money", said Kashmiri Pandit leader adding that in the recent list of KAS (Kashmir Administrative Service), only one KP has been taken. Even though Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference is an ally of BJP-led NDA, the state BJP unit is also sore over such backdoor entries. Mr Chandermohan Sharma, vice-president, State BJP, J&K says: "NC is nothing but a den of corruption. If you want a job, either you should have lakhs of rupes as bribe or you should be the relative of Farooq's close aides." Meanwhile, the state chief secretary Mr Ashok Jaitely when contacted here this afternoon in Srinagar over telephone, expressed his ignorance about Shazia Khan's appointment being quashed by the High Court. He however confirmed that chief minister makes all such appointments in relaxation of rules and the respective files for such appointments are mooted through him. But he expressed his ignorance about the total number of appointment made in relaxation of rule in the past five years. 

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