Migrants crowd railway station to catch a train out of Kashmir - Hindustan Times
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Migrants crowd railway station to catch a train out of Kashmir

ByMir Ehsan, Srinagar
Oct 19, 2021 01:59 AM IST

Many migrant workers spent night in security force camps and police stations and some are determined to stay put in the Kashmir despite the fear after the recent killings by militants

Inside the main railway station of the city’s Nowgam area, dozens of non-locals are eagerly waiting for a train that will take them to Banihal in the Jammu division.

Migrant workers waiting to board a train in Srinagar on Monday. Non-local workers are leaving Kashmir after the recent attacks by militants. (Waseem Andrabi/HT)
Migrant workers waiting to board a train in Srinagar on Monday. Non-local workers are leaving Kashmir after the recent attacks by militants. (Waseem Andrabi/HT)

Among them, Jintendra from Bihar, who used to sell ice cream and other products in the Habba Kadal area in the Old City, left his rented accommodation early in the morning along with six other men to catch the train at the station.

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Dozens of non-local workers have left Kashmir since morning either through cabs, buses or trains. They started leaving after the fresh attack on a group of non-locals at Wanpoh in Kulgam district on Sunday night. The attack left two dead and another injured.

Many spent the night in security force camps and police stations, and some are determined to stay put in the Valley despite the fear. Many have returned to their rented accommodations.

Zahir-ul-Islam, who hails from Malda district in West Bengal, said they received a call from the police last night and were asked to reach the police station in Ganderbal. “We were 20 people staying in four rooms at Ganderbal. After noting down our details, we all were taken to the nearby camp at Dignibal where more than 500 non-local workers had assembled,” he said.

“Only a few hundred people were given food, rest all of us remained hungry. In the afternoon we were allowed to go. The police officers asked us whether we wanted to go home and many of us declined to go back,” he added.

He said their group was involved in construction work and wanted to complete all the remaining projects.

“We will stay for the next two months. Despite killings, we won’t leave Kashmir,” he said.

His words were echoed by his roommate Faruqul, who is also from West Bengal. “We are not afraid. We will only go once our works get complete here.”

At Sopore, non-local workers were called to the police station late last night and then kept in a school building on the national highway and in a hostel of a degree college.

“When we reached the police station, we were taken to a school building close to the Army and police camp and kept there for the night. Some of our colleagues left for homes early by taking cabs. We are still in the school building, and we haven’t decided whether to go or stay,” said Dalip Paswan, a labourer from Bihar.

At the railway station in Srinagar, many non-locals said they felt unsafe after the killings.

“I never wanted to go before January, but back-to-back attacks on non-locals have left all of us scared,” said Darmendra from Bihar.

Another labourer Dhananjay from Bihar said after the killings, they don’t want to stay. “With each passing day, the situation is turning bad and people from Bihar are being targeted,” he said.

Since October 1, 11 civilians have been killed in targeted attacks in different parts of Kashmir and among those killed five were non-locals.

Officials at the railway station in Nowgam said workers had been coming since morning and many waited for five to six hours till the arrival of trains that took them to the Banihal station.

However, officials are tight-lipped over the workers leaving the Valley. Soon after the attack at Wanpoh in Kulgam, the police had moved many non-locals to secure places in south Kashmir, Ganderbal and Baramulla districts.

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