Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari President Apni Party expressed his deep shock and grief over the suicide of a 24-year-old youth (name withheld) residing in Damhal Hanjipora in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district. The victim had recorded a video message to invite government attention towards the financial woes of his family before taking his own life. The deceased had filmed himself before committing suicide last week by consuming poison in his orchard. He was rushed to the Srinagar Hospital where he was declared dead.
Shortly after the news of his death had circulated in the local press, the video he recorded before taking his own life exploded on social media in which he explained why he took such drastic measures. The motive of his suicide was to ease his father’s financial woes as his father had not received a salary for over a year. A transcript of his video reads, “I sacrifice my life for all the teachers who have not been paid for the last two years and I can’t tell you how much trouble I’ve had to this day which is why I was forced to take this step today.”
The victim further added, “I am giving my life to solve the problem of all the employees including his father who are still not getting their salaries for the last two years.” The 24-year-old went on to tell his family to remain patient as they have been. A case has been registered under sections 309 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and a First Incident Report (FIR) has been filed under the number 41/2021. “Further investigations have been taken up,” said the Station House Officer (SHO) Manzgam.
Mohammad Ashraf Rather, the Chief Education Officer (CEO) of Kulgam had informed a local Kashmiri news agency in March 2019 that their administrative department had carried out an internal assessment which had found that Bashir Ahmad Mir (the father of the deceased), who works at the Government Primary School Avail in Kulgam had received a negative report. The adverse report was touted to be the reason his salary had not been released.
According to Sheikh Intikhab Aalam, the District President Teachers Forum Kulgam, 25 teachers in the district facing similar issues with the release of their salary. He appealed to the Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) and Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to release the pending salaries of teachers on humanitarian grounds in order to avoid similar incidents.
Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, the president of Apni Party has expressed “deep shock and grief” over the youngster’s tragic death and told that the media, “This highly abhorrible incident depicts an appalling picture of the level of mental stress and trauma of the families whose salaries have been withheld by an apathetic bureaucratic set-up even in the pressing times of COVID-19 pandemic. I hope the incident acts as an eye opener and a wake-up call for the government.”
He demanded to stringent action and added, “The youth took his precious life as his father who was a teacher by profession was not paid salary for the last over a year which had created disastrous circumstances for his entire family. The officers responsible stopping his salary must be booked for abetment in suicide case.” Bukhari urged the Lt. Gov of the union territory to initiate a probe into the matter and bring the responsible parties to account for their callous attitude which served as the catalyst to this tragedy.
He further appealed that the salaries of families of the teachers whose salaries have been withheld due to frivolous reasons be released immediately. “I appeal the present dispensation to adopt a humanitarian approach and refrain from adding to the already existing alienation among masses. The pandemic has already proven disastrous and has brought economic depravity to the people and the people at the helms should not draw sadistic pleasures of the miseries of the people in such circumstances,” added Bukhari in his press statement.
Bukhari concluded by saying that denying salary to government employees for trivial reasons is a gross violation of human rights. “By withholding the salaries, you are not only depriving an employee of his fundamental rights, including a dignified livelihood, but you are also snatching right to life of his family members whose welfare depends on the wages of their bread earner.”