Updated: May 31, 2021 7:33:33 am
“I am sacrificing myself for all those teachers who have been deprived of salary for two-and-a-half years now; so that their problems are solved — not just of my father but also those (others) without their salaries. Our father’s salary has been withheld for two-and-a-half years and our life has become miserable beyond words.”
In his video message on Wednesday, Shoaib Bashir Mir, 25, who was pursuing a Master’s degree, then announced that he was committing suicide. He ended the one-and-a-half-minute video by urging his family to “keep patience”.
Shoaib reportedly consumed poison at the family’s home in Avil village, in south Kashmir’s Kulgam, and succumbed at a Srinagar hospital on Saturday.
The chilling video, and Shoaib’s suicide, has brought focus on many government teachers whose salaries have been withheld for their past ‘militant record’ — even after, Shoaib’s father Bashir Ahmad Mir pointed out, their appointment was cleared by intelligence agencies and the then state government while appointing them.
“It is not a suicide. It is murder,” Mir, a released former militant who appointed as a government teacher in 2008, said. “The former Director of School Education, Younis Malik, is responsible.”
Younis Malik said, “I will not comment on this. The record (of the case) is with the government. I don’t have the record with me.”
Mir was appointed a Rehbar-e-Taleem teacher — employed on five-year probation and confirmed thereafter. In 2013, he was made permanent teacher in the school education department.
“When we were regularised in 2013, our case went for police verification. In its report, CID mentioned that I have been silent all these years and recommended that my case be put before the District Level Committee (DLC),” Mir said. “In 2014, the DLC meeting attended by the DC (Deputy Commissioner), police, Army and intelligence officials cleared my appointment. I started getting regular salary.”
In 2019, the salary of Mir and more than 65 such teachers was stopped by the government, citing an “adverse report” by J&K Police investigation department. “The report mentioned that I was a militant but have been silent all these years. The (then) director asked for a stop on our salary citing police report,” Mir said. “When we went to the CID, they said the report is clear and the (then) director misunderstood it. We again made a representation to the director and he again asked us to wait for a few more days — till three years passed.”
Since March 2019, these teachers have been without salary.
The employees’ association has termed the suicide a result of red tape and official official apathy.
“Although we don’t endorse this extreme step [suicide], it is the situation that forced a young man to take his life,” Employees Joint Action Committee president and Teachers’ Forum chairman Rafiq Ahmad Rather told The Indian Express. “We have been pleading before officials for cases of many such teachers but nothing was done.”
Former J&K chief minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti: “A man sacrificed his life to highlight the plight of teachers like his father, whose salaries have been stopped since 2018. J&K admin should be held accountable for his death…”
Shoaib was the youngest of three siblings. His elder brother is an Engineering graduate and sister is a postgraduate.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.