Panicked due to the unabated spate of targeted civilian killings and the quit Kashmir threat issued by the United Liberation Front (ULF), a frontal wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a large number of labourers from Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have started fleeing the valley. The ULF on Monday claimed responsibility for the killing of eleven civilians in the past few days and issued a diktat to the non-Kashmiri workers to immediately leave the valley.
The top brass of the central intelligence agency IB has reached Srinagar to assist the police in identifying the hybrid terrorists involved in the civilian killings.
Panic has gripped the non-Kashmiri labourers across the valley after the killing of four persons from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in the past two days.
The police and security forces have given shelter to several labourers in their camps and also in schools. Several non-local labourers have been shifted to secure locations by authorities in various districts. But fear of being targeted by terrorists haunts them and has triggered an exodus of the workforce from Kashmir.
Several labourers along with their families have already reached the Jammu railway station and were waiting on footpaths to get the ticket for the journey back home. Many migrant workers were taking trains from Baramulla, Srinagar and Anantnag to reach Banihal in the Jammu division and travel here by road.
Yogendra Rishidev, who was among those shot dead last night, belonged to Araria in Bihar and had come to Kashmir about three months ago in search of work. He is survived by three children.
A migrant labourer from Rajasthan said; “Situation is getting bad here. We’re scared, we’ve children with us and hence going back to our hometown.”
Some Muslim labourers from Bihar said they were working in Kashmir for the past about 20 years but the situation was never so bad. There is no point staying here to get bullets in the chest. The brick kiln owner where the group was working did not pay their wages, he complained.
Narrating his nightmarish experience, a labourer belonging to Udhampur in the Jammu division said he wants to rush back home but his employer was not paying his remuneration.
This is not the first time that labourers are fleeing from the valley. A large number of labourers had fled Kashmir in 2019 when security forces had started reaching the valley before abrogation of Article 370. Besides, the valley has witnessed an exodus of workers during disturbances in the past.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has vowed to avenge every drop of their blood by hunting down terrorists and their sympathizers.