Amid the growing outrage against the Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh sacking 25,000 home guards, members of the Uttar Pradesh Home Guard Unpaid Officials and Employee Association on Sunday, October 20, registered their protest in Shahjahanpur district against the state government and sought their reinstatement.
Days after UP Police terminated the duties of 25,000 home guards, state minister Chetan Chauhan, who has the Home Guard portfolio, had clarified that no official letter had been received from the Home Department in this regard and that no one will be removed from the service. "Due to budget constraints, the days of duties will be less, but the service of home guards won't be terminated," Chauhan had said.
However, contrary to this, as many as 874 home guards from Shahjahanpur have lost their jobs after the state government decided to terminate the duties of 25,000 home guards in the state.
Sudarshan Gupta, based in Nichlaul of Maharajganj district, has been admitted at Marigold hospital in Gorakhpur after suffering from acute brain haemorrhage due to shock of termination.
Also read: Sacked UP Home Guards: UP Minister Backtracks, Says Jobs Will Stay but Cuts Duty Days
Ram Sevak, Saharanpur district head of Home Guard Association told NewsClick, "On October 16, the state Home Guards Minister Chetan Chauhan brought a twist and had clarified that no home guards will be terminated from their service but their days of duties will be less due to budgetary constraints. Then how were 874 home guards fired? The reality which both the government and concerned minister are hiding is that they terminated 16,500 duties under the home guard quota and 25,000 duties under the police quota, resulting in a total loss of 41,519 home guard jobs. The BJP government has forced us to engage in begging and many of our colleagues have already started doing so as we do not have any other option left."
Another home guard named Ajay Kumar Tyagi accused minister Chetan Chauhan for false consolation that no guard will be terminated. "When home guards met the minister and submitted a memorandum, he had assured us that no one will lose their job. But, the very next day we came to know that duties of 25,000 home guards were terminated. We have not even received our last month’s salary yet and the festival (Diwali) is a few days later. The government has made us unemployed during the festival season."
Meanwhile, Pradeep Kumar, a home guard posted in Muzaffarnagar was served a show-cause notice for "begging with a bowl" to register his protest against the government's decision.
The show-cause notice served to Kumar stated that protesting and sloganeering against the government has tarnished the image of home guard department and government as well.
A video, which has been making the rounds on social media recently, shows the now unemployed guards begging on the streets with bowls in their hands to protest against the government's decision.
NewsClick approached Ramendra Yadav, president of the Home Guards Association, who said, "We will wait for two-three days more to see if the government takes the decision back. Otherwise, 41,519 home guards will register our protest by donating our blood and ask the government to sell our blood and give our pending salaries. It will also help the government to recover the budget constraints. At least families of 1.18 lakh home guards will be not destroyed. If even then the government does not agree, we will opt for self-immolation."
"We demand that the government reinstate us immediately, and according to the Supreme Court order we should get ‘equal pay for equal work’. We work as much as police to maintain law and order of India's largest state but we are not being paid salaries which are fit for our work. We are doing the same work like police, but why are we being treated in such an unfair fashion? Are we not humans?,” asked Yadav.
Also read: UP Govt Sacks 25,000 Home Guards Ahead of Diwali
The decision to end services of 25,000 home guards was taken on August 28 this year in a meeting chaired by Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary. The order was issued by Additional Director General of police (ADG) Jogdand. The daily allowance for the home guards is now Rs 672, up from the Rs 500 before the court order. The government said this would have cost the state an extra expenditure of Rs 10-12 crore every month. It, therefore, decided not to deploy the home guards, meant for security at police stations and traffic signals.
The home guards are not permanent employees and are recruited on a casual basis. They do not have any fixed monthly salary and are paid based on the number of days of duty.