In the wake of fresh target killings, hundreds of Indian residents who were working in the Valley fled the region on Monday.
Those who left Kashmir out of fear, however, recalled the hospitality Kashmiri people showed to them during their stay in the different parts of the Valley.
However, the Indians who are still in Kashmir urged the police to provide them security cover till they get their hard-earned money. “I was working as a mason in Anantnag, but since the killing of a few of our brothers, I am so afraid that I decided to leave,” said Dharmendra, a resident of Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh.
“I got so many calls from my parents and wife. All of them asked me to come back. They even told me to leave whatever money I have earned.”
A group of Indian labourers said that they are thankful to the people of Kashmir for their hospitality and love. “We remember how locals treated us during Covid-19 lockdown last year. We got everything at our doorsteps without going out,” they said, adding, “we will never forget the treatment meted out to us by locals of Kashmir.”
A carpenter Vinod said that they were living in a rented accommodation in Srinagar and they have not got the money they earned in the past 15 days. “We can’t leave without taking our hard money. We urge the administration and police to provide us with security cover till we get our money. Once we get the money, we will proceed for our homes,” he said.
Scores of Indian residents on Monday flooded the Tourist Reception Centre in Srinagar to get tickets and to board buses to reach their respective states in the wake of continuous attacks on non-Kashmiri labourers.
Gulab Ram, a resident of Uttar Pradesh said that there is a fear all over Kashmir owing to the killings.
“We are very afraid. We are here at TRC to get tickets for Jammu from where we will proceed to UP,” he said with fear visible on his face.
Dozens of residents from Bihar, UP and Rajasthan were busy getting their tickets so that they could reach their homes safely. “I was told tickets aren’t available today and we have to wait till tomorrow,” said Vijay, a carpenter from Bihar. He said along with the fear, the early winter chill has also become a reason for them to flee Kashmir early.
Raju, a resident of Bijnor, UP said he along with some 20 other labourers are leaving because of killings of non-locals including vendors. “We got calls from our family members back home from UP asking us to come home after attacks on non-Kashmiri residents,” he said.
Many non-locals have decided to stay at TRC for a night so that they can proceed to their respective states early tomorrow.
A police advisory asking non-locals to reach police stations and army camps created chaos across Kashmir.
Meanwhile, dozens of non-locals have also reached Railway Station in Nowgam to board trains as buses were not available at TRC.