Table of Contents
   Index
   Secessionist Movements
- Article 370
- Interim Government
- The Plebiscite Front
   Muslim Militancy
- The Gathering Storm
- War of Attrition
   Disinformation Compaign
- Political Alienation
- Muslim Precedence
- Economics of Militancy
   Genocide of Hindus
- The Minorities
- Quit Kashmir
- Darkness at Noon
- The Exodus
- Ethnic Cleansing
   Search for Refuge
- Leave Salary
- Scorched Earth
   Book in pdf format  

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An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

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Chapter 5
Search for Refuge

LEAVE SALARY

The fate which befell the employees of the State Gavernment was no belter. In 1990, orders were issued by the State Government that the employees of the State Government and other corporate bodies, who had evacuated from Kashmir in the wake of the militancy, would be paid their salaries as usual for the period they were notable to join their duties. All such employees were categorised as the "migrant employees". 

The decision to provide cash relief to the Hindu refugees and enable the Hindu employees of the Government to draw their salaries in exile, was taken by the then Governor, Jagmohan. However, in its implementation, the decision of the Governor was distorted completely. A Muslim official of the Indian Administrative Service, who headed the Finance Department of the State Goverrment improvised the term "leave salary", which the migrant employees were ordered to draw. No one had the courage to ask the willy official, why the Hindu employees could not be simply deemed to be on duty and not on leave which presumably the new definition of "leave salary" underlined. The Hindu employees had left Kashrnir in circumstances which were not of their own making and which had been partly created by the wilfill withdrawal of the State administration from its rightful function. The officials of the State Government, who in the new dispensation of the Governor's rule had assumed the demeanor of the Nabobs of the British days, interpretted and re-interpretted "leave salaly" to circumscribe the spirit and intent of the orders to enable the migrant employees to receive their salaries. Many of the officials had vested-interests in regional, local and sectarian power balances, which had dominated the political processes in the State, all along the four decades of Indian freedom. Many of them feared the militants and therefore, agreed without demur to whatever was proposed to be done with the migrant employees. The all powerful factions of the Muslun bureaucracy, which openly professed neutrality in the war of attrition going on the State, mainly to uphold their commitment to the Islamic Jehad, harboured enough distrust of the Hindu refugees, particularly the Kashmiri Pandits. 

After the conversion of the "salary" into "leave salary" was accomplished, the State administration curtailed one after the other the rights and priviledges to which the migrant employees were otherwise entitled. During the last four years numerous orders and instructions were issued to govern the grant of "leave salary" to more than twelve thousand Hindu migrant employees, consisting less than 5 per cent of the personnel in the services of the State. No restrictions were imposed by the State Government on the Muslim employees of the State Government who had fraternised with the terrorists at the most crucial hour, when the terrorist violence was at its peak and struck work in defiance of all administative responsibility. 

The cumulative effect of the numerous orders and instructions to regulate the "leave salary" was devastating on the Hindu migrants. A large section of the Hindu employees working on temporary, ad hoc, non-permanent basis and WOlk charge, were abruptly discharged from their services because they could not claim "leave salary". Among the retrenched employees were people, who had worked in their respective departments and corporate bodies of the State, for years and had reached a stage in their life, where they could hardly make a detour to begin afresh. 

Several hundred employees were suddenly plunged into deluge, when their services were summarily terminated on the plea that since the non-permanent and temporary staff in the employment of the State was not entitled to any leave, their services could not be continued "under-rules". The scourge of the bureaucratic commitment to the conditionality created "under rules" not only deprived hundreds of the migrant employees from their livelihood, it virtually pushed them into oblivion, because the termination of their services closed their prospects of being confirmed on their postings in accordance with procedure laid down for the purpose. 

The migrant employees working on non-permanent basis in staff services. technical and academic organisations suffered the worse, for they had served their respective organisations for years with their expertise and technical know-how. The vengeance with which these people were retrenched, lost them the whole credit they had earned to claim confirmation in their respective services. Most of the vaccancies thus created were hurriedly filled by people, who were hardly equipped with adequate academic and technical qualifications and training. 

As it happened. the "leave salary" was confined to the disbursemerd of substantive pay with the other admissible allowances, being withheld. In the British imperial tradition, salaries in Jammu and Kashmir State, as in the rest of India, were constituted of two components : the substantive salaries and the allowances, which fluctuated with the changing value of money. The demonstrations of protest against the orders to withhold the allowances, embarrassed the State Government, which evidently could by no stretch of mind, exclude the allowances from the "leave salary". The allowances were restored but the inclusion of any fresh grant of allowances in the ''leave salary'' was ordered to be reviewed with the approval of the State Government. 

"Leave salary" involved many more issues of crucial importance for the migrant employees. The Finance Department of the State Government, as usual, stuck to the position that the "leave salary", did not earn any of the usual benefits: periodic increments, promotions, grade revisions etc. for the migrant employees. The Department held that the migrant employees, were presumed to be on leave, and therefore, did not earn any right to periodic increments, promotions and pensionary benefits. The Government issued supplementary orders to its various offices to allow the migrants to draw their periodic increments. 

In spite of repeated representations of the migrant employees, the State Government stubbornly refused to countenance their claims to promotions, pensionary and other benefits. The joke went round that the Hindu employees of Kashmir had forfeit their right to any benefits, because they were runaway renegades who had betrayed the struggle for freedom in Kashmir. Different officials in different departments obdurately insisted that they could not accept any claims which the "leave salary" did not permit. 

Demonstrations and protest of the migrant employees evoked little response from the State Government. The Commissioners Secretaries a monstrous combination of the line and staff functions in a single official, swore and jeered at the people who went to them for redress. The Muslim bureaucrats pulled the strings from behind the curtain. The Governor, S . C Saxena who had served the Home Department of the Governor of India, hid himself behind the Palace walls and barricades. Perhaps on the instructions of the Government of India, the promotion of some sections of the migrant employees were taken up for consideration. The results were atrocious. A number of the migrant employees were ordered to be promoted to their next higher grades but they were posted to the remotest places in the Kashmir province where militant violence raged. The orders of the promotions stipulated in umnistakable terms, that the promotions would not take effect till the promoted migrant employees did not join the places of their posting. None of the emigrant employees was able to join at the place of the posting. Justice was obviously done. 

The conspiracy to eliminate the Hindu refugees from the services of the State did not end here. While the militants consolidated their hold on the valley and the State Government staggered under their pressure, concerted efforts were made to block the employment of eligible Hindu refugees in the services of the State. In Jammu and Kashmir, the State Government had evolved an ingenious method of recruitment to the State services which operated to the disadvantage of the Hindus, particularly the Hindus in the Kashmir province. Vested with arbitrary powers by virtue of Article 370, the State Government had allocated a separate quota for the two provinces of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh being included in Kashmir. The service cadres in the two provinces were further divided into two categories: The cadres belonging to the Kashmir Administrative Service and the cadres belonging to the grades of the subordinate services, the cadres of the Kashmir Administrative Service were recruited by the State Public Service Commission and the cadres of subordinate services were recruited by the Staff Selection Committee, appointed by the State Government. The subordinate services were further subdivided into quotas separately allocated to the districts of each province. 

The Hindus, who formed a small minority in almost all the districts of the Kashmir province, except Srinagar, were easily eliminated from any consideration. In the district of Srinagar, where they had a sizeable population and offered tough competition to the Muslims they were excluded on the basis of reservations for the "Backward Classes". In the Kashmir province, the employment of Hindus and other minorities varied between 4 percent to 6 percent, all through the years after the first Interim Government was constituted in March 1948, though their population, varied between 7 percent to 8 percent of the population of the province. 

In the Jammu province, the Hindus, in the three districts of Poonch, Rajouri and Doda, were conveniently excluded from the services by the same procedure which was followed in Kashmir. In the Hindu majority districts of Kathua, Jammu and Udhampur, the Muslims appropriated solid chunks of the employment on the basis of the reservations for "Backward Classes". In the upper grade services, in which were included the cadres of the Kashmir Administrative Service and the cadres of the specialised staff agencies, the recruitment was not made on the basis of provincial quotas. The functions of the Public Service Commission, generally constituted of members majority among whom upheld Muslim precedence, were so manipulated as to exclude the Hindus in Kashmir province almost completely, from employment in the upper grade services of the State. In Jammu the Muslims, though a minority, were ensured a large share in the upper grade provincial services. The scourge of the special quotas spread to the recruitment in specialised services and academic bodies as well where all norms and qualifications, which were presumed to be basic for recruitment, were thrown to winds. In the academic institutions, including professional colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning, Muslims with post-graduate degrees of the third grade, were given preference to Hindus with degrees of the first grade, research qualifications and other achievements of academic excellence. 

After the migration, the Hindus of Kashmir were confronted with another piquant situation. The State Government refused to recognise their claim to any employment in Kashmir province, on the basis that they had migrated from the Kashmir and ceased to be the residents of the province. Evidently, under the quota system they could not claim any share in the service of the State in the Jammu province, because they did not belong to the Jammu province. An undeclared moratorium was automatically imposed on the recruitment of the Hindu refugees in the services of the State. Applications of the Hindu migrants, received in response to requisitions made by various recruiting agencies of the Government, were refused consideration. Strangely enough, applications from the Muslim migrants, who had also left the State due to terrorist violence, were accepted and marked out for special consideration. 

A surreptitious campaign was launched by several quarters inside as well as outside the State Government, portraying the Hindus in Kashmir as the villains, who by their prowess and cunning would rob the people in Jammu province of their initiative and opportunity. The smear campaign was obviously inspired by the militant flanks, who considered the Kashmiri Hindus as a major support base of India in Jammu and Kashmir and who did not forgive them for their active opposition to the Muslim secessionist movements. 

The campaign did not carry conviction and except for some sections of the affluent middle class in Jammu no one paid any heed to it. The leadership of the Kashmir Hindus reacted quickly and made it abundantly clear that they did not seek the adjustment of migrant employees in Jammu nor did they seek any employments in the Jammu province. In a national convention, the All States Kashmiri Pandit Conference, the 'Yuvak Sabha' held in Jammu, announced the resolve of the community to return to Kashmir. 

The State Government followed an entirely different policy in regard to the employment of the Muslims. Many leaders in the Janata Dal, a component of the united front Government of the Congress and the National Conference lamented at the economic deprivations, the Muslims had suffered and the unemployment their youth had faced, which they alleged had let to their alienation from the national mainstream. Governor Saxena, and after him Krishna Rao, picked up the cue and blamed everybody except the Muslims in Kashmir, for the induction of terrorism in Kashmir and offered the "misguided Muslim youth" employment in order that they abandoned arms. The Muslim bureaucracy, which followed its own interests, initiated several quick moves to pull in as many activists and supporters of the various militant organisations into the State administrations, as they could. Voices were raised from several quarters, the Hindu migrants, the press and several members in the Indian Parliament, including the former Governor of Kashmir, Jagmohan, against the recruitment of the people in the State administration, who were mostly sponsored by the militant flanks and whose loyalty to India was doubtful. These protests had little or no impact on the policies of the Government of the State which threw the existing recruitment rules to winds and adopted new procedures. These procedures were evolved by the State bureacuracy, which after the exit of Jagmohan, had assumed virtual mastery over the State administration. Consequently: 

  • Posts created in the Kashmir province after l990, were filled by the Muslims in sheer disregard of the requisite qualifications and other requirements. 
  • Rules and procedures for the recruitment to State services were modified in favour of the Muslims in Kashmir to enable them to qualify for services to which they were not otherwise entitled. 
  • Special procedures were made for the qualification in favour of Muslims to facilitate their recruitment to employments which required academic specialisation and training. 
Besides the salaried employees who were working in the service of the Government on non-permanent basis, there was another class of salaried employees, who lost their livelihood because of the migration. This salaried class included Hindus employed in privately managed schools and colleges, many of which received grants-in-aid from the government; hospital staff and doctors, working in privately run hospitals, nursing homes and clinical laboratories and the employees of the Hindu religious endowments and temple-trusts, including the Dharmarth Trust. These employees were employed on permanent tenure basis and entitled to pension and other super annuatory relief. Hundreds of teachers, who had almost spent their lives, serving their respective institutions, were suddenly thrown to the charity of the world. The teachers employed in the private schools, which received grants-in-aid from the Government, approached the State administration for the restoration of their salaries on account of the grants-in-aid, which continued to be received by their institutions. The Muslim bureaucracy applied the brakes and the grants-in-aids were withheld or discontinued. The wretched people ran from pillar to post, entreating the Governor, the Advisors and the Commissioners pleading for their salaries, which they claimed on the basis of the grants-in-aids. Their entreaties were ignored.         

White Paper on Kashmir

 

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