Amid chaos, many non-native workers decide against leaving Kashmir

‘Kashmir is an epitome of brotherhood and I have full faith in Kashmiris’
Amid chaos, many non-native workers 
decide against leaving Kashmir
Non-local labourers leaving Kashmir in view of recent spate in targeted killings across Kashmir, on Monday 18 Oct 2021.Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Srinagar: Amid chaos following spate of civilian killings, many non-local seasonal workers have decided against leaving Kashmir.

Aftab Ahmad, a non-local barber from Bihar is not worried about the current situation saying "Kashmir is an epitome of brotherhood and I have full faith in Kashmiri brothers."

Ahmad said, “I am not leaving, I have lived here for almost 10 years. Never ever have I faced any problem. Last year my father passed away, local Kashmiris helped me in burying him with full religious rituals. I can never forget the kind gestures of my brothers here,” Ahmad said while working in his rented salon in Soura.

He along with five of his acquaintances has decided against leaving Kashmir and plans to continue their work till December.

“We usually go home in the beginning of December; this year too we will leave by that time. We have been assured by our local friends and also we are well aware how kind-hearted Kashmiri people are. Few elements who want to defame

Kashmiris won't be able to succeed," he said.

Few kilometers away from Ahmad’s working place, Shameem Ahmad, a snack seller from Uttar Pradesh as usual was busy preparing crispy snacks at his makeshift stall at Safa Kadal roadside. Unfazed by the killings of non-locals he says “I feel safe here.”

“It is unfortunate that poor non-local workers have been killed, but I have full faith in Kashmiris as well as the government who would ensure security of lakhs of migrant workers who leave their families behind to earn livelihood here,” he said.

Shameem believes that if migrant labourers won’t come to Kashmir, they would die of starvation, hunger as there are very less opportunities in poor states like UP, Bihar for labourers like them.

Ashok Kumar, a mason too has decided against leaving Kashmir. “I am working at a place where there is still some work to be done. It will take us around a month to finish it, till then I cannot even think of leaving Kashmir. Besides, the owner of the place where I am working has even asked us to stay at his place.”

In the last two days, four non-native workers have been shot dead by militants in the Kashmir division.

On October 16, two non local labourers - Arvind Kumar Shah of Banka Bihar and Sagir Ahmad of Uttar Pradesh (UP) were killed by militants in Eidgah Srinagar and Litter Pulwama.

On October 17, three non-local labourers from Bihar were fired upon by militants in Wanpoh, Kulgam. Two of them died on the spot. The slain were identified as Raja Reshi Dev and Joginder Reshi Dev and the injured was identified as Chunchun Reshi Dev. All are residents of Bihar.

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