Several non-Kashmiri labourers flee Valley

August 18th, 2008 - 12:25 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

Jammu, Aug 17 (IANS) Several labourers from other parts of India have fled the Kashmir Valley, fearing attacks on them, one such worker from Bihar said here Sunday. “Our contractor told us to quit Kashmir or stay at our own risk,” said Bihari Lal of Bihar.

“We were told that it was unsafe for us,” he said, complaining that he had not been paid wages by his contractor in Baramulla in north Kashmir.

He and others were here on their way to their homes in different parts of India, including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

“Many migrants took trains back to their homes as they were deeply scared and vowed never to return,” a migrant labourer who identified himself as Uma Kant told reporters.

Some of them were accompanied by their families and women cried while narrating their miseries.

“These were horrifying times over there,” said Vidya, also returning home with her family. “We had not imagined that we would be thrown out of the valley like this. We were asked to quit by those whose homes we were constructing.”

While officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, termed the migration as usual, the valley needs labourers in large numbers at this time with the harvesting season approaching and construction works at peak.

The valley has witnessed a fresh wave of agitations, countering demonstrations in Jammu, over the state government’s transfer of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) and then revocation of the move.

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