Srinagar: Police used water cannons to disperse state government employees marching Wednesday towards the civil secretariat in Srinagar to press their demand for raising their retirement age from the present 58 years to 60 years.
Police in full riot gear intercepted the protestors in the Tengipora area of the city, which is the summer capital of the state.
"More than 24 state government employees have been arrested by the police who stopped our peaceful march," a state government employee said.
"On September 15 last year, the government had signed an agreement with us assuring that our demands would be met, but now they are retracting from their commitment," Khurshid Alam of the state government Joint Consultative Committee (JCC), an umbrella group of employees` unions, told reporters here.
Besides raising the retirement age, employees are also demanding regularisation of ad hoc, daily wage and contractual government employees and removal of anomalies in salaries.
To look into these demands, the state government had formed a panel headed by state Chief Secretary Madhav Lal. The panel has already submitted its report but the government is yet to take a final decision on the recommendations.
However, a large number of unemployed youths in the state are opposed to raising the retirement age of the state government employees, fearing it would raise the threshold for their own employment and escalate the unemployment rate.