India Newsletter

IN VALLEY, GOVT STAFF GO TO WORK LOOKING OVER THE SHOULDER, ATTENDANCE THIN: AN IE REPORT 
23 August 2019

Aijaz Ahmad, a resident of South Kashmir's Pulwama district, travels more than 30 km to reach his office in Srinagar. But the journey is not easy these days. He hitchhikes and walks, past paramilitary personnel and angry youths. 

"I am wearing slippers instead of shoes. I don't want to be recognised as a government employee," says Aijaz, sitting in his office here on Thursday. "The boys on the roads are angry. If they know I am going to office, I don't know what will happen to me." 

Aijaz's colleague, a resident of Baramulla in north Kashmir, sports a 
shalwar kameez instead of shirt and pants. "If my neighbours find out I am going to office, there will be a reprisal," he says. "I have kept my 
departmental card at home. Instead, I am carrying an Aadhaar card. Someone threw a stone at my car when I was going home," he adds. 

After the morning prayers on Monday, local residents reportedly made an announcement from a mosque in Srinagar's Alamgari Bazar asking government employees to stay home. 

According to the government, there has been a gradual increase in employee attendance. However, the employees said it is difficult to commute, especially with no public transport in the city. 

The staff said that the communications blackout added to the difficulty. 
"After we leave home, our family members are anxious through the day," said an employee. 

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