Srinagar, Nov 23: Despite strict directives by the state government to constitute internal complaint committees to probe complaints of women harassment at workplaces, the government departments present a sorry state of affairs with most of them having yet to form the committees.
An official on anonymity pointed out that even the internal complaints committee constituted in a few departments remained only an eyewash.
The (Prevention, Prohibition and (Redressal) Act, 2013, which prescribes strict punishment was enacted by the central government on December 9, 2013, and under Section 4(1) of the act, every employer is required to constitute an internal complaint committee with an aim of providing protection against harassment of women at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints in a stipulated time-frame.
The act makes it mandatory for all the departments having 10 or more employees to form such a committee and an employer can be fined `50,000 for violation of the act.
However, sources told Kashmir News Service that the non-serious attitude of the departments on this issue can be gauged from the fact that majority of them have failed to act despite getting repeated reminders from the state government.
General Administration Department (GAD) issued orders several times, says that administrative heads of their respective departments shall constitute committees at the state, divisional and district levels.
Over the years, there have been number of times, when women faced harassment at work places.
But most of the time action was not been taken. “We need committees in every college, school in Jammu and Kashmir,” a woman professor teaching in one of the colleges said.
“Majority of the women are working today, but there is no security for women at workplaces in Jammu and Kashmir. The government or other rights group only advocate about rights when something untoward happens and when the incidents dies down, the voices of advocates also dampens,” said a female teacher. “If women do not feel safe and comfortable in their native land how can they be safe outside,” the teacher added.
Another female, who is working in a government department, said that there are numerous instances when she has resisted men passing lewd remarks in her career. “The institutionalized harassment is ingrained in our system and the people who are helm of affairs always took undue advantage of women. Earlier, raising voice was considered a stigma but now people are raising their voice and slowly the perception is changing,” she said.
A senior official in the government said that it had sent letters to all government departments to ensure that the committees must be in place to hear the complaints of women employees and that any lapse in this regard won’t be tolerated.
War never an option, give peace a chance: Farooq to Indo-Pak
Srinagar, Feb 23: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Saturday asserted that war unleashes countless miseries on people urging India and Pakistan to end hostiles.
Farooq Abdullah while addressing a gathering at Banihal said, “War with it brings destruction and it does not determine who is right, it only determines who is left. We have seen four wars in our state. If the war takes places, the matters will escalate and invite international notice. Is India ready to see the issue of Kashmir being racked up in the United Nations Security Council?”
Party president maintained that any misadventure aimed at fiddling with the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir will have serious far-reaching consequences for the state and the country.
“I pray that sanity prevails over the people at the helm of affairs in New Delhi. The situation demands de-escalation.
The hostility between the two nations has held the development of both countries hostage, our state in particular always comes in the line of fire,” he added.
Farooq while appreciating the efforts of the people of Banihal in ensuring the stranded Kashmir bound passengers all help, said, “The resoluteness and unity with the people of Banihal who carried out relief operation for stranded Kashmir bound passengers is worth appreciation. I also congratulate the local wing of NC led by District President Ramban Sajad Shaheen which left no stone unturned to ensure all possible help to the stranded Kashmir bound passengers.”
Farooq while censuring the Government of India for failing to meet the developmental demands of the people of the state said, “We see how China is coming up with infrastructure along the border areas. People may question what the incumbent government was able to achieve during its stint in power. We all know nothing substantial was achieved during the past few years, no infrastructure augmentation. On the contrary, joblessness has increased. This government is only good at rhetoric and slogan mongering,” he said.
Party President later took stock of the arrangements made by local wing of NC for stranded passengers.Farooq also appreciated the people of Ramban for maintaining communal bonhomie and urged them to continue to kindle the flame of brotherhood and communal amity amongst them.
Among others district president Ramban Sajad Shaheen accompanied the party president.
Govt playing with fire by unleashing terror on unarmed people: PDP
Srinagar, Feb 23: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday condemned the fresh wave of arrests in Kashmir Valley, questioning the government strategy to turn the already perturbed situation more chaotic and violent.
In a statement issued here, PDP General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said that the uncalled for, unjustified and undemocratic means are being adopted in Kashmir by the government with a sole motive to silence the peoples’ voice.
He added that reign of terror is being unleashed with people as old as 80 years being bundled in jails by the governor administration without any reason.
He also condemned the nocturnal raids launched last night in Kashmir’s different parts and terror reminiscent of Ikhwan period being uncashed upon the people.
“It is nothing but a clear war hysteria being created in Kashmir wherein things were subtly returning to equanimity. People are being unnecessarily harassed and intimated with fear being manufactured across Kashmir. We condemn such a state action and demand immediate rollback of such muscular policies,” said Hanjura.
He also cautioned the central government over fiddling with the state’s special status, saying that protection of Article 35-A is a matter of life and death for the people of the state and they can render immense sacrifices for the protection of their unique identity.
Hanjura said that instead of a confrontational approach, the central government should understand the gravity of the situation and take reconciliatory measures which is not only beneficent for the people of Kashmir alone but for entire south Asia.
‘Force and intimidation’ will only worsen situation: Mirwaiz
Srinagar, Feb 23: Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday condemned JKLF chief Yasin Malik’s detention and the crackdown on the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir leadership, saying “force and intimidation” would only “worsen” the situation.
Police swooped on Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir members in Kashmir during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday, and detained around two dozen of its cadres, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, hours after JKLF chief Yasin Malik was detained on Friday night.
“Strongly condemn the nocturnal crackdown on Jamat-e-Islami leadership and cadres and the arrest of Yasin Malik. Such illegal and coercive measures against Kashmiris are futile and will not change realities on ground. Force and intimidation will only worsen the situation,” Mirwaiz posted on Twitter.
The action comes days after an attack on a convoy in Pulwama district in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives on February 14.