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Abrogation of Article 370 brings new dawn for Valmikis | Abrogation of Article 370 brings new dawn for Valmikis | English.Lokmat.Com

Abrogation of Article 370 brings new dawn for Valmikis

The Valmikis who came to Jammu and Kashmir over six decades ago when the state was passing through a severe sanitation crisis are celebrating the axing of Article 370 of the Constitution as the dawn of a new era.
Abrogation of Article 370 brings new dawn for Valmikis

The sanitation workers now feel that their long-held dreams would come true and they would finally get permanent residency in the region as well as government jobs from which they were barred since 1957.

That was the year when their ancestors were brought from Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts of Punjab to clean up Jammu and Kashmir amid a crippling sanitation workers' strike.

"My grandfather came from Punjab as garbage had collected on Jammu's roads due to the months long sanitation employees strike. We were then promised right of citizenship and employment in government services and other facilities like health and education," said Bhatti, a sanitation employee of Jammu.

But the promises were never kept.

"We were denied citizenship and even other facilities because we did not have PRC (Permanent Resident Certificate)," Bhatti said in a video on social media. "Today, we have got freedom."

The video has been re-tweeted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who spearheaded in Parliament the government's move to scrap Article 370 and break up the state into two Union Territories.

Shah had earlier said that the Right to Education, Minimum Wages Act, Minority Act, social reservation for the disempowered, corruption free governance, development of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh were the least the people of this region could now expect to get.

Another sanitation employee broke down when asked about his condition.

The man, who did not want to reveal his name, complained that his 20-year-old daughter Radhika could not get a government job despite clearing the exams due to lack of Permanent Resident Certificate.

Radhika said: "I wanted to join the BSF (Border Security Force). I cleared the exam but was rejected because of PRC. After that I dropped my studies and thought that nothing will happen here.

"As Article 370 has been scrapped, I feel that our dreams will come true".

Sitting along with others from his community, another sanitation worker said: "I worked as a sanitation worker for almost 25 years on low wages. Despite giving the golden period of my life in this job, I could not get a permanent government job due to lack of PRC. Now there is a ray of hope."

(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at rajnish.s@.in)

( With inputs from IANS )

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