SRINAGAR: Hundreds of non-local labours who were working in the valley on Monday decided to leave the valley on the pretext that their families were worried about them, while those stayed demanded security.
It comes days after four non-local labours were killed by militants across Kashmir.
“I was working as a mason at Anantnag, but since the killing of a few of our fellow brothers, I am so afraid that I decided to leave,” said Dharmendera, a resident of Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh. “I got so many calls from my parents and wife. All of them asked me to come back. They even told me to leave whatever money I have earned.”
A group of non-locals said that they are thankful to the people of Kashmir for their hospitality and love. “We remember how locals treated us during Covid- lockdown last year. We got everything at our doorsteps without going out,” they said, adding, “we will never forget the treatment meted out to us by locals of Kashmir.”
A non-local Vinod said that they were living in a rented accommodation in Srinagar and they have not got the money they earned in the past 15 days. “We can’t leave without taking our hard money back. We urge the administration and police to provide us with security cover till we get our money. Once we get the money, we will proceed for our homes,” he said.
Scores of non-local residents Monday flooded the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) Srinagar to get tickets and to board buses to reach their respective states in the wake of continuous attacks on non-Kashmiri labourers.
Gulab Ram, a resident of Uttar-Pradesh said that there is a fear all over Kashmir owing to the killing of non-locals.
“We are very afraid. We are here at TRC to get tickets for Jammu from where we will proceed to UP,” he said with fear visible on his face.
Dozens of non-local residents from Bihar, UP and Rajasthan were busy getting their tickets so that they could reach their homes safely. “I was told tickets aren’t available today and we have to wait till tomorrow,” said Vijay, a carpenter from Bihar. He said along with the fear, the early winter chill has also become a reason for them to flee Kashmir early.
Raju, a resident of Bijnor, UP said he along with some 20 other labourers are leaving because of killings of non-locals including vendors. “We got calls from our family members back home from UP asking us to come home after attacks on non-Kashmiri residents,” he said.
Many non-locals have decided to stay at TRC for a night so that they can proceed to their respective states early tomorrow. A fake police advisory asking non-locals to reach police stations and army camps created chaos across Kashmir. Meanwhile, dozens of non- locals have also reached Railway Station Nowgam to board trains as buses were not available at TRC—(KNO)