Lucknow: At a time when people are reeling under a pandemic- and lockdown job and wage crisis across the country, the Uttar Pradesh government has, without 'prior notice', removed 16,590 home guards with the police department from January 1, according to sources.
In an order, the Senior Superintendent of Police in Meerut has stated that 586 home guards will be relieved from their duties from January 1, 2020.
“The decision to remove the duty of 32% out of 586 home guards posted across Meerut district was taken on December last year. The jawans had been posted to maintain law and order,” the order stated.
A similar notice was also issued by the Bareilly district administration where 300 jawans have been relieved of their duties without informing them, a home guard told NewsClick on the condition of anonymity. Most of the home guards have not received their salary for the past two months, he said.
On Sunday, under the aegis of the UP Home Guards Unpaid Officers and Employees Association, the home guards held demonstration on the collectorate premises in Bareilly and handed over a memorandum to the city magistrate, Rohit Yadav, addressed to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The memorandum, said to be signed by hundreds of home guards, demanded to a roll-back of the decision, saying it would completely snatch the livelihood of thousands of people.
"If these home guards are not reinstated, then from January 10, we will start a hunger strike across the state," a home guard told NewsClick , adding that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the time that the services of home guards was needed the most, “but the government does not even care how they will manage their bread and butter.”
It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had earlier directed the government to pay daily allowances to UP home guards at par with the UP Police constables. The UP Home Guards are mostly deployed for the traffic management system in the state, which is now likely to face issues.
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"The Chief Minister, on December 6, 2019, during the foundation day celebrations of the home guard department had lauded home guards for their efforts during the lockdown. The CM said the jawans helped thousands of students, workers and labourers reach their home districts. He also said that his government had given 90% duty to home guards so far and would try to create 100% jobs for them in future. Soon after the parade ended and CM left the ground, the higher authorities removed the duty of 32% home guard jawans," Ramendra Yadav, state president of the Uttar Pradesh Home Guard Unpaid Officials and Employee Association, told NewClick, adding that families of 16, 590 home guards would be affected.
Citing the move as a violation of the Supreme Court order on ‘equal pay for equal work’, Yadav said: “The irony is that these officials are violating the order of the Supreme Court on ‘equal pay for equal work’, as per which home guards should be paid as much as the police of the state,"
Threatening a mass hunger strike in the state capital, Lucknow, Yadav said: "The Supreme Court in its judgement in April 2019 stated that Home Guards should be given allowances at par with the constables but instead of providing jobs or paying us equal as UP Police, the government is fanning unemployment,” adding that this will also increase anarchy in the state.