Migrant workers from other states line up to leave Kashmir

On a rainy morning in Srinagar, three children of Vikas Choudhary, a labourer from Bihar, are shivering in the cold as they wait for a taxi to leave Srinagar, Kashmir - upending a life of 18 years

Oct 19, 2021
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Migrant workers leave Kashmir

On a rainy morning in Srinagar, three children of Vikas Choudhary, a labourer from Bihar, are shivering in the cold as they wait for a taxi to leave Srinagar, Kashmir - upending a life of 18 years. Vikas's neighbour, Arbind Kumar, a gol-gappa snack seller was among the latest victims of the targeted killings of people from other states in Kashmir. He was shot dead on Saturday evening by terrorists who, officials say, want to scare "outsiders" away from Kashmir. 

"Bihari workers are being killed. I'm scared because they want to drive us out. No one has asked us to leave but there is fear. The gol-gappa seller who was killed was living in the same apartment here,"  Choudhary told NDTV. 

Vikas's colleague and neighbour, Ashish said they were given 3,000 rupees by the Kashmiri landlord for their bus fare - an example of the kindness of the local people. But the repeated terror attacks have panicked their families back home.

"Kashmiri people are very good... house owner gave us ₹ 3,000 for bus fare. They are nice. But back home, our families are perturbed... After killing of migrant workers, they are asking us to return," he said.

NDTV found migrant workers were being kept in secure locations. The migrant workers say they were brought into "safe locations" Monday night.

"We were sleeping when the police came and asked us to come to the police station. I'm the only breadwinner in the family and there is no work available in Bihar," said one of the workers named Rahul.

Mohammad Salaam, another labourer from Bihar, said they have never faced such a situation in Kashmir.

"We have never faced such a situation. Last night, the police brought us here. What will do here? We had come here to work," he said.

The spate of attacks has come at a time when the army is engaged in one of its longest and toughest anti-terrorist operations in the Poonch district.

 Nine soldiers including two offices have been killed in action since last Monday but so far no terrorist has been killed.

 Today, loud explosions and gunfire were heard as the army pounded suspected terrorist targets in the dense forest where they are holed up.

(SAM)