Police today used water cannons to disperse hundreds of National Health Mission (NHM) employees who are on strike since March 1 demanding regularisation their services in the Jammu and Kashmir government here. The striking employees including doctors and paramedics assembled at the Partap Park in the heart of the city after police foiled their attempt to continue their protest at the Press Enclave.
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Police swung into action as the protesters gained strength and tried to come on the roads and used water cannons and batons to disperse them, officials said.
The NHM employees tried to march to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s residence yesterday but were stopped by the police who used teargas shells and batons to scuttle them.
The police action drew criticism from various quarters including the National Conference and the CPI(M).
“Use of brute force is no answer,” the opposition parties had said and demanded serious negotiations with the striking employees to address their demands.
The employees are demanding equal pay for equal work, regularisation of their services and other benefits on par with other government employees, claiming that most of them have completed about a decade of contractual service and have crossed their age bar limit.
The strike by 13,000 NHM employees hit the patient care at various district and sub-district hospitals and Primary Health Centres across the Valley.