The end of a five-year-long legal battle between a group of Kashmiri Pandit job aspirants and the state government has brought joy on the faces of nearly 200 such youths after the latter approved their appointments.
The Kashmiri Pandit job seekers hailed the decision as a "victory for justice" and patted Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for it.
"We are very thankful to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for keeping her word and approving our appointment in accordance with the High Court ruling of 2015", president of the unemployed petitioners forum (UPF) Rahul Kachroo told PTI.
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday announced creation of additional 3,000 supernumerary posts for Kashmiri migrants under the prime minister's package.
The cabinet approved appointment of 198 petitioners subject to the condition that the appointees shall have to join within a period of 21 days in the concerned departments, failing which the appointment shall be deemed to have been cancelled, without any notice.
"It is a victory for justice. We have been engaged in a legal battle with the government since 2012 and some of us have already crossed the age limit for appointment in government service", Kachroo said.
He said that he along with other job aspirants moved to High Court in 2012 after the state government sought fresh applications to fill up 2,300 posts under the prime minister's relief package for pandits.
While 1,500 posts were advertised in 2010, the government reserved several hundred posts for various categories like scheduled caste and scheduled tribe.
"Though none of the Kashmiri Pandits fell in these categories, the government decided to go for fresh advertisement for these posts ignoring the waiting list.
"We challenged the government decision in the High Court, which in its order, directed the government to reserve the seats for the petitioners", he said.
Even as over two years have passed, there was no headway and "we also filed a contempt case against the government for its failure to implement the court order", he said.
Lauding Mufti, Kachroo said that she kept her promise by implementing the court order.
The petitioners also gave credit to Chairman of All Parties Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC) Vinod Pandit for his help in fighting the case with the government.
Kachroo also hailed the Vinod Pandit for raising the issue with the state government time and again.
"They were deserving candidates and we came forward to plead their case. We are satisfied at the outcome of the case", Pandit said.
He welcomed the announcement of creation of 3,000 fresh posts for the community under the prime minister's package and said "such measures need to be taken to restore the shaken confidence of the pandit community."
"The confidence building measures like creation of posts will prove helpful in restoration of confidence among the community who has a long desire to return back to their roots", Pandit said.
The government directed all the migrant employees appointed under the prime minister's package to report to their respective directorates in Kashmir within the next two weeks.
"The concerned head of departments shall ensure that the postings of all such employees are rationalized and they are posted suitably keeping in view various aspects enabling them to discharge their duties and responsibilities in a harmonious manner", the government said.
Kachroo, who has got a job as a teacher, said he was waiting for this day to move back to Kashmir.