Jammu and Kashmir Information and Public Relations (DIPR) employees have gone on an indefinite strike demanding revocation of attachment of a joint director by the government. DIPR offices in Kashmir and Jammu divisions would remain shut till the attachment order of the joint director is revoked, a spokesman of the Information Department Employees Union said. The government had yesterday attached the department’s Joint Director (Kashmir) Zahoor Ahmad Mir, pending an enquiry into alleged irrational distribution of advertisements among the print media. The employees staged a sit-in on the premises of the Directorate of Information and Public Relations here.
The union is not against an enquiry, but attaching an officer without any proof is uncalled for, the spokesman said. “He (Mir) should not have been attached without having any proof. We are not against the enquiry. But he should be allowed to work as a joint director till the enquiry is completed. He is being punished without any proof,” he said. The spokesman said the department’s employees will not receive or distribute advertisements till their demands are met. Official press releases will also not be be issued, he said. Employees of the advertisement wing are subjected to frequent intimidation and harassment by editors of some small organisations who demand a lion’s share of advertisements and other monetary benefits for their publications, the spokesman alleged.
In the recent past, the frequency of such incidents has increased alarmingly and last week an editor barged into the office of the joint director for information (Kashmir) and abused, intimidated and threatened officers if bulk share of advertisements were not given, he alleged. In a similar incident, earlier this year, an FIR already stands registered against an editor for threatening employees of the advertisement wing, the spokesman said. The striking employees have sought the intervention of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Information Minister Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali in ensuring their security and dignity, he said. The strike has forced various government offices to issue press releases from personal email accounts of officers and other employees.