Kashmir's 'Insecure' Brides
Sidrah Fatma (Rising Kashmir)
Srinagar: Such is the importance of government jobs in Kashmir that when would be in laws of Uzma (name changed) realized she is on the brink of losing her job they stopped Adil (name changed), their son, to marry her. The refusal came a year after the parents of the duo arranged a grand engagement function for them.
Uzma is one of the many female volunteers protesting against the government’s decision to wind up the Central Government’s National Youth Corps (NYC) scheme launched in 2010 in J&K. While females are silent protesters, males keep chanting anti-government slogans throughout the day here at Press Enclave.
As many as 8200 volunteers are getting affected by government’s decision of winding up the scheme.
Rifat Rashid (24), a volunteer was employed as a data entry operator under the NYC scheme for two years, during the 2010 unrest in Valley. “For two years, I have worked as a data operator in the education department. I used to work till 5 in the evening like the permanent employees but for a paltry sum of Rs 2500,” she said, adding 8200 boys and girls were allotted jobs in different government departments in various districts of Kashmir during 2010 unrest. As the contract period of two years is about to end, panic has struck the volunteers who are at the brink of losing their jobs.
Demanding extension in their contract the volunteers have taken to hunger strike since May 28. However, they are disappointed by the response of government towards their protest. “We are sad that Chief Minister did not bothered himself to see us. Once he promised to work for our employment but now he has forgotten it,” said Urfi Mir, another women protester.
“Marriage proposals quickly followed many of us after the news spread in our respective areas that we have been employed under a Central Government scheme but many families backed out once they discovered that our jobs are uncertain. The reason they cited was that they wanted employed brides and grooms for their children,” Urfi further said.
Taslima Naik made her way from Pulwama to join her fellow protesters. “I was assigned a teaching job at a government school in Pulwama. I used to teach Urdu, Mathematics and other subjects to students of seven classes, while the permanent teachers would take just four classes. I did my job very seriously, but nobody acknowledged that,” she said.
The protesting volunteers demand extension in their job contract and placemen in the government departments they were working in.
“In Kashmir, you have to fight for your right, it doesn’t come easily. We will fight till our last breath. The government may be thinking that we will leave in few days. But if needed, we will send the boys home and girls will protest here all night,” asserted Rifat.