Financial miseries back home hold many non-local labourers in Kashmir

Others leave with a hope to return again to a ‘better atmosphere’
Financial miseries back home hold many non-local labourers in Kashmir
There are several other non-local labourers who want to complete their time schedule here. Despite, spike in civilian killings they still believe time is not so adverse that they leave in confusion.Aman Farooq for Greater Kashmir

Baramulla: To Vishal Kumar, a non-local labourer from UP, leaving Kashmir ahead of his usual schedule, will cost him over twenty thousand rupees on account of loss of earnings here, which he simply cannot bear. “So I have decided to stay here till the end of November,” he says.

Vishal has borrowed around rupees one lakh from a private money lender in Gorakhpur, UP, for construction of his one-room dwelling with the hope that he will repay the debt soon after his return from Kashmir in the last week of November.

“Returning a month earlier now, means I won’t be able to repay the debt. This will give the lender an excuse to grab my property. The private money lenders are brute; they don’t leave their money or interest come what may,” said Vishal.

Despite adverse situation, Vishal says he will not return before his usual scheduled time. “Life and death are in the hands of God. But completing my work schedule here is what will save me and my family from the wrath of private money lender,” Vishal said.

Unlike, Vishal, few non-local labourers from Baramulla town left for their native villages early on Monday. Though disappointed with the current situation in Kashmir, they left with a hope to return next season “to a better atmosphere”.

“I have been working in Kashmir for 15 years. Earlier my father worked here for one decade. I would have preferred to stay here but the repeated phone calls from my family forced me to go back. I cannot imagine leaving Kashmir forever. I have received love and warmth from the people here. I believe it is a temporary phase, I have witnessed even worse conditions during my 15 years’ stay in Kashmir,” Jay Singh, a resident of Gaya Bihar said.

There are several other non-local labourers who want to complete their time schedule here. Despite, spike in civilian killings they still believe time is not so adverse that they leave in confusion.

Deepak, a carpenter, working at Baramulla, said whatever the circumstances, he will not leave ahead of his scheduled time. He said most of the labourers who are leaving at this juncture are either new to this place or had been here for last one or two years that is why they are so panic.

“Kashmir is my second home. I have been here for two decades now. I have seen worst times also and did not go back even at that time. The biggest advantage in working here is that people are not communal and they believe in communal harmony. Besides, we get better wages here. That is what makes you return again,” Deepak said.

Kashmir has seen many incidents of killing of civilians and non-locals in the last two weeks.

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