Kashmir Political Class Angry Over “Mistreatment” of Employees at Yoga Event


SRINAGAR: Kashmir political class is unhappy over the alleged mistreatment that was meted out to the employees of the government of Jammu and Kashmir while participating in the International Yoga Day event at the SKICC. Some have even sought an apology from the Prime Minister, who led the session and presided over the function.

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On the eve of International Yoga Day, a demonstration in Srinagar’s La Chowk on June 20, 2024.

“Reports and videos surfaced showing employees forced into walking barefoot in an event organised for the Prime Minister. The way this administration has treated the employees shows its disregard for respect and basic rights of the employees. And this behaviour is unacceptable,” Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, the newly elected Member of Parliament from the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, stated in his post. If the reports are accurate, he said the Prime Minister’s Office should issue an apology for “disrespectful treatment” of the employees.

The NC echoed Mehdi’s sentiments, accusing the J&K administration of mishandling the arrangements for the Yoga Day event. The party shared videos on social media of employees, predominantly women, walking barefoot in the rain-soaked venue.

Prime Minister Modi led the Yoga Day celebrations, which saw numerous participants, including government employees, take part in yoga sessions despite incessant rain. Though the event was to be held on the banks of the Dal Lake in the SKICC lawns, the rains pushed the event within the complex where not everybody could participate. Prime Minister later took selfies with the students and participants.

The participation of the students and the employees including women had been gradually emerging sort of a controversy.

“An occasion for celebration has become one that fills people with dread. A day before International Yoga Day all govt employees along with school children have been ordered to show up at different venues at ungodly hours,” former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti wrote on X. “Even pregnant employees have not been spared. A pregnant employee was threatened to choose between her job or being present at the event.”

She was amplifying the X post by activist Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat. “In connection with International Yoga Day celebrations Female Govt Employees were asked to reach SP College Srinagar at 4 am yesterday,” Bhat wrote. “They left their homes at 3 am & were asked to change their dress in College & then go to SKICC. Not a Fair practice.”

The education department has denied allegations of coercion, asserting that hundreds of volunteers from schools and colleges across Kashmir valley were registered for the event. However, various official orders are running on social media suggesting the employees were asked to participate.

However, it was the odd-hour movement and the participant-only passes that created the problems. Movement during odd hours has always remained an issue in Kashmir, especially in the last 30 years. What added to the crisis was the order that the employees should move into the venue barefoot. There are videos on social media showing this phenomenon.


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