Non-local employees of EDB asked to join duties in Kashmir or face termination

Kulgam: Security personnel stand guard outside the Ellaqie Dehati Bank where a bank manager was shot dead by terrorists, at Areh Mohanpora in Kulgam district on Thursday, June 02, 2022. (Photo: Nisar Malik /IANS)

Being forced to submit undertaking for accepting action

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, June 24: Non-local employees of the Ellaquai Dehati Bank are in duress as the bank authorities have served them ultimatum to immediately join back their duties in Kashmir valley notwithstanding threat to their lives in wake of the recent spate of targeted killings of innocent civilians, including one of their colleagues, who was shot dead inside the bank premises.
These non-local employees, mostly from Jammu and other parts of the country, have been directed to report back for their duties at Head office Srinagar within three days, failing which the bank is threatening termination of their services.
Besides, these employees are being forced to give an undertaking that any act in contravention of the provisions of Code of Conduct on their part shall be construed as misconduct and amount to disciplinary proceedings against them under appropriate Service Rules as deemed fit by the Bank.
Shocked over callous behavior of the bank management and specially the HR authorities, the aggrieved employees alleged that they are also being threatened of transfer in far flung militancy infested areas till the undertaking is signed.
Pertinent to mention here that a Branch Manager of Ellaquai Dehati Bank, namely Vijay Kumar of Rajasthan was shot dead by a militant at Kulgam Branch of the bank on June 2 following which most of the non-local staff from Jammu and other States had left the Valley. There are around 160 non-local employees working in Kashmir branches of Ellaquai Dehati Bank, which is a sponsored bank of State Bank of India (SBI).
According to these non-local employees, after they left Kashmir and reached Jammu following killing of their colleague, they had contacted the local authorities of EDB in Kunjwani where they were asked to go to their respective home towns till the situation improves.
However, on June 14, these employees were flashed messages through email by the HR Manager to immediately join their duties within two days. As these non-local employees urged for their transfer to safe zones in Srinagar city and deployment of security personnel in their respective branches, the HR Manager purportedly assured to consider their demand once they join back the duty at Head office in Barzulla Srinagar.
It may be recalled that Lt Governor Manoj Sinha had also personally announced that non-local employees would be posted in safe zones.
However, on reaching the Head office in Srinagar, sources said that these employees were asked to give an undertaking not to leave the Kashmir valley notwithstanding any adverse security situation. They were also allegedly asked to sign a letter confessing that they were absent from their duties after the killing of Vijay Kumar on June 2 and hence not eligible for salary of that period, sources added.
As the employees expressed their reservation over signing the undertaking, sources said that the bank management told them that the SBI Headquarters at Chandigarh has directed to terminate services of all probationary employees if they refuse to obey the instruction.
“HR Manager has threatened all employees and particularly female employees to transfer their duties in far flung areas of Kulgam, Shopian or Anantnag districts if they fail to sign the undertaking,” said an employee on the condition of anonymity.
Shocked over alleged insensitive attitude of the bank management despite threat to their lives in Kashmir, these non-local employees have appealed Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and Union Home Ministry to personally look into the matter and ensure their transfer to safe zones before joining back duties.
Despite repeated attempts, management authorities of Ellaquai Dehati Bank could not be contacted for their contact.