Kunal Shrivatsa

Grameen Bank employee sacked for seeking security for non-local bankers in Kashmir

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Bank employees protest against management decision

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Grameen Bank employees on Tuesday staged a protest against termination of their colleague for allegedly ‘instigating’ other employees against management.

Hundreds of Grameen Bank employees assembled outside its headquarters in Narwal and raised slogans against the management for, what they said, ‘illegal’ termination of a colleague.

The management of the J&K Grameen Bank has sacked one of its staff members, who happens to be the General Secretary of the J&K Grameen Bank Officers’ Association (JKGBOA), for raising the voice to ensure foolproof security arrangements for the non-local bank employees serving in Kashmir.

The bank management has terminated the services of the General Secretary JKGBOA, Satwinder Singh, who was leading the protesting bank employees here.

Satwinder Singh and a large number of his colleagues are demanding that those posted in Kashmir should not be forced to return to Kashmir until situation improves there.

“My only fault was that I raised the voice of those bank employees who were serving in Kashmir amid heightened threats to their lives due to the sudden surge in targeted killings,” said Satwinder Singh while speaking to Kashmir Images.

Singh was issued a show cause notice on June 16 (Thursday) at 9 pm through an email and was directed to reply within two days. His request for giving time for preparation of reply to the show cause notice was also turned down.

Though Singh responded to the notice on June 18 (Saturday), the letter of dismissal from the services was issued to him on June 20 (Monday).

“The management served a show cause notice to me while asking me to respond within two days otherwise I would be terminated. I was not well and the doctor had advised me to take complete bed rest for five days. Moreover, under rules I was entitled to give reply within fifteen days but that was denied and finally I was terminated on Monday. The notice says that I provoked the employees due to which they are refusing to join duties in their respective branches in Kashmir and the bank is suffering losses in such a scenario,” he said.

Singh said more than 600 officers of the bank have chosen him as representative of their union so as to raise their issues and grievances from time to time.

“I am elected representative of the union and I am duty bound to raise the concerns of the employees. All the employees are standing behind me like a rock. All the regional branches in Jammu, Rajouri, Poonch, Kathua and Kashmir remained shut today to express their solidarity for me and opposing the arbitrary decision of the management to sack me,” said Singh.

He said that the management claims that the outsiders serving in Kashmir have adequate security provided by the bank management but the reality is somewhat different.

“The management, without arranging adequate security personnel in all the branches, ordered all the outside employees to return to their duties without concerning for their safety. Out of 94 only 40 to 45 branches in Kashmir were provided with security guards,” he said.

Despite repeated attempts Chairman, J&K Grameen Bank, Sudhir Gupta, couldn’t be contacted as his mobile was constantly coming as switched off.

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