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Casual Labourer’s melancholy;what it means to be a Daily Wager in Kashmir

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Inside a single story house located in the Srinagar outskirts is Firdous Ahmad, busy playing with his two daughters. In his home, the mood is jubilant with relatives offering greetings to Firdous and his wife.
Firdous is one among the 61 thousand daily wagers whose services have been finally confirmed by the state government and who shall from now be eligible to draw a fixed salary along other service benefits. However, the much awaited government announcement has made Firdous nostalgic, opening up the deep wounds of the past and the every struggle he had to overcome while working as a need based employee. “When you have a wife and two daughters, only God knows what it is like to sustain on meagre 4000 rupees a month,” Firdous told KNS.
A computer graduate, Firdous was offered a job at R&B as a computer operator on the monthly wage of Rs 2500, in the year 2005. Confident and enthusiastic, Firdous accepted the offer. He says he was optimistic that his skills would pave way for his regularisation soon. Months passed and then years, Firdous kept working in the department from 10 to 4 without fatigue and least display of exhaustion. “I worked three times more than that of the permanent employees. Even they used to leave bundles of files on my table and would task me to complete the most rigorous works in the office. I never turned my head away. I accepted every task I was entrusted upon,” recalls Firdous.
He says soon after he got married, responsibilities spiked and so did the expenditures. A year later, he was the father of twin daughters. I can’t even tell you my feelings then, says Firdous and added, “I was happy and I was even worried over the fate of my family. People would spend double the amount of my monthly wages for fuel in their cars.”
He says he vividly remembers how the previous regimes in the state undermined the sufferings of the daily wagers and of their families. “I even remember the time when Naeem Akhtar sahib in 2015 termed us the mess of the previous governments. I wept bitterly that day, wondering about the fate of my two little daughters,” Firdous recalls.
He says even though his wages remained meagre, he was determined to give good education to his daughters. Firdous admitted them in a private school though there were suggestions pouring in from the relatives that he should consider the option of government schools. “I never wanted to give an impression to my daughters that they are the children of lesser God. I had resolved that even though me and my wife had to sleep with empty stomachs, we would never ever compromise with the daily needs and education of my daughters.”
Now when the government has ordered the regularisation of the services of Daily Wagers in the state, Firdous has reason to rejoice. “I would say something is better than nothing. We can now avail leaves and have yearly increments. This is encouraging,” says Firdous.
However, this 42- year-old tech savy says that the years of the rigorous struggle as a daily wager has taught him the valuable lessons of life. “These years taught me to be compassionate and live without fear. These years taught me to smile infront of my children, no matter how bruised I used to be within.” (KNS)


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Amit Shah’s West Bengal speech clear call for Hindu Rashtra: PDP

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Srinagar, Jan 23: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday termed the BJP President Amit Shah’s West Bengal speech an open call for a Hindu Rashtra and said that the Saffron party chief has challenged the very idea of India.

Shah while addressing a rally at West Bengal said that Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh need not be afraid in India because the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has been brought to grant them citizenship. He also termed Muslims as infiltrators and stated that time for their deportation has come.

“This is nothing but an open call for a Hindu Rashtra. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in itself is laying foundations of a Hindu Rashtra and exclusion of Muslims and Christians. What Amit Shah has said is communal poison and this is a moment of challenge for right thinking Indians who still believe in Idea of India as we have always been made to believe,” said senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar.

 

He added that the statement of BJP President has sent a very negative message to the communities other than the country’s majority community. Such remarks, said Akhtar, aren’t being taken positively in the states like Jammu and Kashmir which have Muslim majority character and other states with sizeable Muslim and Christian population like Kerala, West Bengal, UP and Bihar and northeast states.

“What Amit Shah has said negates the essence, letter, and spirit of the constitution of India which is a covenant of all communities, all classes, and all people of the county to live together,” Akhtar said.

The PDP leader said that the BJP is setting up a dangerous game for electoral gains in the country and is playing a communal hatred card as last resort to win elections. “Unfortunately, BJP has only one goal and that is to win elections at whatever cost. The real issues facing the country including the problems of Jammu and Kashmir which are of a major nature besides joblessness, agrarian crises have been thrown in cold storage,” Akhtar said.

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Beware of activists impacting K-movement: Geelani to Youth

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Srinagar, Jan 23: When young blood is so enthusiastic to achieve their goal, no power on earth can force them to subjugation; this was stated by Hurriyat (g) Conference, Syed Ali Geelani, in a telephonic address to the mourners of the slain  Dr Shams-ul-Haq at Soghan Shopian on Wednesday.

Quoting Geelani, the spokesman in a statement said that Hurriyat (g) chairman reiterated his pledge to take the movement to its logical end and will never allow anybody to barter the precious blood of “martyrs”.

“We need to be aware of this and we are duty bound to safeguard their sacrifices and should desist from such activities which prove detrimental for our movement,” he said.

 

He said that deceitful slogans of development, prosperity or material gains can never be a substitute for freedom. Politicians have turned into political leeches, sucking every drop of our blood to satisfy their “masters” in Delhi.

The separatist leader said that our movement has become so precious that no perk and privilege can compel us for any compromise.

Stressing upon people in general and youth in particular, Hurriyat (g) chairman said that we need to strengthen our faith and protect our civil, social, religious and human liberties, avoid miss deeds and nourish the Islamic culture in our homes and society without indulging in sectarian hatred and social evils.

 

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Forces ‘torture’ compels youth to join militancy: Yasin Malik

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Srinagar, Jan 23: Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Muhammad Yasin Malik while condemning the ongoing “killings” in Kashmir on Wednesday said that killing of more than half a dozen Kashmiris at Budgam and Shopian during last two days and assault on a civilian at Haba-Kadal are “exhibition of colonial mindset of government forces who only know to kill, injured and humiliate humans at will”.

The party spokesman said that killing of many more youth at Budgam and Shopian namely Syed Rubaan, Zahid Ahmad, Shams-Ul-Haq, Tawseef Ahmad, Sabzar Ahmad, Amir Ahmad Butt, as part of unabated killings, JKLF chairman said that first government forces “torture, torment, humiliate Kashmiri youth and leave no place for them to pursue a peaceful path and then eliminate them in CASO’s and crackdowns”.

Citing the example of a young Syed Ruban of Nazneenpora Shopian, Malik said that one of his relatives had joined militancy, and then the army, SOG and police started raiding his house, arresting him, torturing and humiliating this gentle soul on daily basis.

 

On June 19, 2018, his residence was raided during night hours and he along with his brother Syed Tajamul was severely tortured and this humiliating torture became a turning point for him as he left his

Meanwhile, JKLF chairman has expressed his heartfelt grief and sorrow over the demise of youthful Abdul Rashid Shigan of Batamaloo presently at HMT who passed away recently.

 

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