Migrants fleeing Kashmir after terrorist assassinations invade train stations and bus stops; Congress attacks government

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Thousands of migrant workers who fled Kashmir with their families lined up outside ticket offices at train stations and bus stops in Jammu and Udhampur on Tuesday, while others left the valley as the targeted assassination of non- locals by terrorists in recent weeks sparked a new exodus.

The opposition Congress has attacked the Modi government, claiming it has turned out to be a “total failure in controlling violence and security in Kashmir”.

Officials said security in and around train stations and bus stops in Jammu and Udhampur and Kashmir had been tightened as a precaution as people arrived in large numbers, desperate to leave.

Outside Jammu Station, men, women and children waited with their meager things by the side of the road in long queues without water or shelter.

The exodus began after the murder of Sageer Ansari of Saharanpur (UP) in Pulwama on October 16 and that of Raja Reshi Dev and Joginder Rishi Dev – both from Bihar – in the nearby town of Kulgam on October 17 sparked the panic among workers in other states, especially those working in the volatile South Kashmir region.

Eleven civilians have been killed in targeted attacks in Jammu and Kashmir this month alone.

Various parties from all political stripes have condemned the killings.

It is estimated that three to four Lakh migrant workers from different parts of the country come to the valley each year in early March for skilled and unskilled jobs such as masonry, carpentry and agriculture, and return home before the start of the season. winter in November. This year, however, many are choosing to return earlier.

The non-locals, engaged in apple orchards and cardboard and bat factories, spent about six months in the valley before returning home, an official said.

Another official from the security establishment claimed that around 600 people in southern Kashmir have already moved to safer places.

Trains are the preferred route out of the valley and many say they will keep them safe.

About 50 migrant workers, many from Bihar, arrived at Nowgam station late Monday evening from the nearby Budgam district where they worked in brick kilns.

“We spent the night in the open air but felt safer due to the presence of security forces guarding the station,” Mithilesh Kumar told PTI at the station on Tuesday.

“We are leaving Kashmir earlier than usual … There is too much fear,” he added.

“No one told us to leave, but who will be responsible if any of us are killed. One moment we are told that safety will be assured and the next we will be alone,” said Deepak Kumar, a resident of Madhubani district in Bihar.

Dozens of migrant workers and their families who have reached Jammu have said they have been through “hell” over the past two weeks and may never return to Kashmir after the ordeal.

“I am very unhappy to leave the valley. It has become hell. We come here to earn money so that our families do not get killed in the streets,” said Chintu Singh from Chhattisgarh, who had been working since. four to five months each year in the valley. for over a decade now and goes with a group of 20 Hindu laborers working in a brickyard in Pulwama district.

While some workers said their wages were paid, others complained that they were forcibly kicked out by employers in the valley without their wages.

Ajay Kumar from Besangoan, Bihar, who fled with his wife Sarita and two children from a brickyard in Pulwama in southern Kashmir and reached Jammu station, cried bitterly, saying his employer refused to pay Rs 27,000 in pending wages and called on the authorities to intervene.

“We had no money. With my wife and two children, I received money from other people and left the valley. The owner forced us to leave without paying us the rest. salary, “Ajay Kumar said and showed a newspaper with his payroll.

It was also reported that migrant workers from other parts of the valley left by taxi and bus early in the morning.

However, hundreds of people could also be seen at major crossroads in Srinagar, hoping to be hired for work.

Hawal Chowk, renamed Bihari Chowk by the townspeople, has not experienced a significant drop in the number of migrant workers.

The first migrant worker, Virender Paswan, was shot dead by activists in the Hawal area.

Scenes were no different in Rambagh, less than a mile from where prominent Kashmiri businessman Pandit Makhan Lal Bindroo was shot at point blank range in his store earlier this month.

Workers at Nowgam station congratulated locals and said they made sure the group reached the station safely.

“The people of Kashmir are nice but few people are in politics and the masses have to suffer,” Deepak Kumar said.

Sooraj, a resident of Bihar working in a clothing store in Srinagar, has already packed his bags and will soon be leaving the valley.

Javed, originally from Hapur in Uttar Pradesh and working in a saloon, is also considering leaving.

“Fear is in the air. My owner takes care of me but he cannot be with me 24 hours a day. My other friends working elsewhere have already left the Valley. Unfortunately, I have to start something again”, a- he declared. .

Congress has said innocent people are being killed or forced to leave Jammu and Kashmir.

“There is an exodus of hope from Jammu and Kashmir. The Modi government, which talks all the time about security, has disappeared,” party spokesman Randeep Surjewala said.


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