As employment opportunities dry up, migrants leave Valley
Migrant workers have been leaving the Valley in large numbers because of loss of work and the prevailing tense situation.Updated: Aug 11, 2019 07:55 IST
Mohammad Arshad, a 45-year-old goldsmith from Calcutta who has been working for a local trader in Srinagar for the past 10 years, has decided to leave Kashmir along with his family.
He is trying to convince a tempo driver near Barbarshah Bridge to ferry his family and some friends from the interiors of downtown at Saraf Kadal to a convenient location. The area has been under restrictions all week since the nullification of Article 370 and the carving up of the state into two Union territories.
“We are a group of 28 people, including women and children. Some of us have managed to walk to this place but our families can’t walk. The driver is fearful the forces may not allow him to enter downtown or his vehicle may get caught in stone-pelting if he enters downtown,” Arshad says.
“There is no work to do now till the situation improves. So I have decided to go to my home in Calcutta,” he adds.
Migrant workers have been leaving the Valley in large numbers because of loss of work and the prevailing tense situation. Curfew-like restrictions were imposed across Kashmir on Sunday night, hours before Union home minister Amit Shah first announced the momentous decision on J&K in the Rajya Sabha.
Thousands of CRPF personnel, paramilitary forces and police have been deployed in Kashmir to prevent protests and violence, giving it the look of a fortress. Businesses, markets, offices and educational institutions are closed. Road blocks and concertina wires dot the roads and the movement of people is strictly restricted.
Last week, official orders urged all non-Kashmiris to leave, citing security concerns. The state government sent buses, immediately after the advisory was issued, to different tourist destinations to bring the visitors back to Srinagar.
According to government estimates, some 400,000 migrant workers have been working in Kashmir.
Mohammad Salman, a painter from Uttar Pradesh, said, “We are becoming the target of anger among Kashmiris...youths are telling us to leave. A police officer told us they can’t assure our safety,” said Salman.
First Published: Aug 11, 2019 07:36 IST