Kupwara: At a time when some non-local labourers are leaving Kashmir after the recent killings of civilians, in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district the scenario is altogether different.
An official said that over 3000 non-local labourers visit Kupwara every year to earn livelihood.
He said that due to recent killings, fear psychosis was prevalent among them but they were staying back and not leaving the district ahead of their schedule.
For Vinod Kumar of Bihar’s Supaul district, Kashmir has been a second home.
A mason by profession, Kumar has been visiting Kashmir for the past 16 years.
“I have found the people across Kashmir to be most sympathetic. Last year when Covid restrictions were strictly imposed across the country, I along with my colleagues got stuck here. At that time, it was the local Kashmiris who came to our rescue and provided us free eatables for months. They did not discriminate among us on religious lines and, in fact, were more sympathetic towards non-local Hindu labourers,” Vinod said.
Rustam, a tailor from Bihar, said that his family members were constantly calling him and asking him to return early but he had persuaded them that he would leave Kashmir on the day he was scheduled to.
“We have to stitch clothes for a couple of brides. So, going to our homes right now will leave them distressed,” he said.
A local builder from Banday Mohalla Handwara said that Kashmiris had become altogether dependent on non-local labourers who had replaced local labourers in every field with their dedication towards work.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Kupwara Imam Din told Greater Kashmir that the non-local labourers were not leaving the district.
He said that stringent steps regarding their safety were already put in place and that they did not need to panic.