New Delhi: Months after opposition parties accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Arunachal Pradesh of appointing hundreds of employees “illegally” in the education department, the Pema Khandu government has terminated the services of as many as 256 persons this past week.
A Times of India report quoting state government officials said, “They have been terminated across the districts of Arunachal Pradesh for allegedly producing forged and fabricated appointment orders to authorities concerned to get the jobs in the last five years.”
The news report said, “The highest number of employees – 101 – have been terminated in Siang district, followed by 72 in Changlang (district) and 26 in Anjaw (district).” It said they were appointed to these posts between 2018 and early this year by the state government.
Calling it “one of the biggest en-mass termination letters issued by any department in the history of Arunachal Pradesh administration”, an Arunachal Times report said they were appointed in violation of the Arunachal Pradesh Staff Selection Board Recruitment Rules, 2018.
State education commissioner Amjad Kak told reporters in Itanagar, “We did scrutiny at the departmental level, issued show cause notices to all, and the termination orders were issued after the lapse of the notice period.”
The controversial issue was first raised in March 2021 by former Congress MP Ninong Ering. In response, though the chief minister Khandu had said strict action would be taken if the accusation was found to be true, but nothing much happened.
The issue caught the public eye though. This past May, a student body accused the education department of appointing 28 primary school teachers without even issuing any advertisement, mandatory as per the 2018 rules. The student body alleged that no interviews were even conducted before the teachers were appointed by the education department.
It led the Arunachal Pradesh Youth Congress president Tarh Johny to file an FIR against the then elementary education director. The Arunachal Times report said, “Under pressure, the state government gave approval to the vigilance department’s Special Investigation Cell (SIC) to probe into the cases in the education department in July 2023.”
This past August, the SIC registered a case on the matter which led to a few arrests and the subsequent sacking of 256 such appointments.
This past November 27, in an editorial on the issue which has rocked the state, where elections will be held next year, the Arunachal Times said, “It is alleged that most of these appointees are linked to powerful people, including elected representatives. With the election nearing, many of them reportedly tried to put pressure on political leadership to stop the department from initiating strong action against them.” Lauding the education department for acting inspite of political pressure, the editorial added, “However, the department still needs to act against the officials who were involved in the scam. Now it needs to initiate strong action against those officials who were involved in the scam.”