AFTER STAGING a ‘pen down’ strike in Ferozepur and Faridkot on September 9 and 10, the PCS (Punjab Civil Service) Officers Association went on a day-long statewide strike to condemn attacks against their colleagues. Members of the association wore black badges and did not work for the day.
The association has urged the government to address their issues within 15 days.
On September 5, Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) Zira Narinderpal Singh was allegedly threatened by a group of farmers in Gatta Badhshah village in Ferozepur. The farmers had allegedly even threatened to throw his vehicle in the Sutlej. SDM Singh had gone to take stock of flood relief work. An FIR was lodged later.
Last week, Atam Nagar MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains had allegedly misbehaved with Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujjwal. Bains was booked later.
Association members highlighted that in the past, the Dhuri SDM and his staff were held hostage by farmers who had entered the tehsil complex and had not allowed the staff including SDM to leave their office for hours together. They were protesting against pending payments from a private sugar mill. The incident had taken place in March, and the SDM had even sought a transfer from Dhuri after this incident.
In Nihal Singhwala of Moga district, a naib tehsildar had allegedly faced misbehaviour from a group of farmers, said association members.
In Ludhiana as well, Manjeet Singh Cheema, a joint commissioner of municipal corporation, had been held hostage for 4-5 hours in his office in June. The incident had taken place after some controversy with SAD councillor Yashpal Chaudhary. Later SAD and BJP leaders, safai karamcharis had staged a dharna against him.
Association members said 10 major incidents had taken place in the past 7-8 months and there had been no follow-up action or fining, thus questioning the security of the officers. Rajeev Gupta, president and Dr Rajat Oberoi, general secretary of the association, said that otherwise as well, there is lack of infrastructure and severe shortage of staff and officers were not being posted on their cadre posts.
Young officers were getting only Rs 15,600 in the first two years and were severely stressed yet were performing their duties reasonably, they added.
Dr Oberoi said, “We are here to handle law and order problems. However, holding someone hostage is not justified and lack of action against the persons questions our security.”