- Majid Jahangir
- From Srinagar, on BBC Hindi
On the night of August 12, Mohammad Ashiq and Mohammad Anzar, residents of Bihar, were panicking towards the site where, like them, Mohammad Amrez, a 19-year-old Kashmiri worker, was shot dead by suspected extremists in the darkness .
Mohammad Ashiq and Mohammad Anzar reached the spot quietly, both of them had arrived after a long distance. However, Mohammad Amrez was neither his relative nor acquaintance. Yes, he was sure he belonged in his own city and his own state.
Mohammad Anzar said, “When a laborer from Bihar was killed in Pulwama last week, our colleagues told us to wait a few more days to see what happens. We agreed with them. Now it has happened again same”. murders When these incidents happen, there will be fear. Since we’ve been here, we’ve only been seeing action. When there is no value of human life here, then we will stay here What will we do? We have seen and visited Kashmir and won it. Why would we stay in Kashmir now?”
However, Anjar has no grievances with the common Kashmiris. People of Kashmir are said to be very kind and big hearted.
Anjar, who has been working as a laborer in Kashmir for a year, says, “We are laborers, we go where we have work. Even in foreign places like Kashmir, we come to earn money. Our colleagues told us that Kashmir has mountains and a beautiful place, but here only blood is shed.”
Mohammad Amroz, a resident of Bihar, was shot dead outside his room in Bandipora’s Sadnar village at midnight on Friday. Amroz was shot as he was leaving the bathroom.
Sadnar village is about 35 km from Srinagar.
Amroz lived with his two brothers in a rented room in this town. His two brothers have now gone to the village with his corpse. The three brothers used to make beds in Sadnar village.
Amroz’s brother Mohammad Samar told the media after the incident: “We slept after twelve o’clock at night and meanwhile another brother told me that the sound of gunshot was coming. I told my brother who was sleeping. Wow, all this is still happening. He asked if brother (Amroz) is not here. After that I told brother to come and see, he must have gone to the bathroom. When he came out, he found his brother covered in blood. Then we called the army and came out. and picked up the brother. After that we took him to a nearby village hospital where they asked us to take him to Srinagar. He died on the way in Srinagar.”
The police posted a tweet about this incident and said, “In the intervening night of Friday, a laborer from Bihar was shot and injured by terrorists. He was taken to hospital for treatment where he died.”
Amroz’s owner, Bilal Ahmed, said: “It was about 1am when my phone rang. There was a call from the workers from Bihar who lived next door to me. They said you are coming quickly. After reaching the place. Amroz was covered in blood and his brothers were crying. I called the police but they didn’t pick up the phone, then I called the army commander and he asked me what was wrong. I told him say a worker from Bihar was shot After he reached here in two minutes.
Bilal said that because of the workers living in his home, his children’s education expenses were covered. He also had to say that now when the tenant is killed, where will the money come from.
Thousands of migrant workers work in Kashmir who come from many states of India. The number of workers is highest in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
On June 2, 2022, 17-year-old Dilkush Kumar, a laborer from Bihar working in a brick factory at Magrepora in Budgam district, was shot dead and two of his associates were injured.
Dilkush’s other accomplices have returned to their homes after the murder incident. In that brick factory, we have now met the workers from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, who are now working in that brick factory and are working without any fear. One worker said he did not know who was killed when. But some workers also seemed concerned.
After Dilkush’s murder, the owner of the brick factory, Mohammad Yusuf Mir, was also arrested by the police for alleged negligence.
He told the BBC over the phone that the administration has asked us to install more CCTV. He said the police and other security agencies sometimes visit factories and take stock of the situation.
According to Mir, more than two hundred workers work in his factory. He said that after Dilkush’s murder, he had to bring in other workers.
Ramnath, a resident of Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh, his body sweaty and traces of fatigue hidden in the creases of his forehead, says, “We are broke all day after work and have to cook on the side in the evening and we see it. a the other side too. It must be that no one comes and kills us.”
When we asked Ramnath if the question in your mind why workers are being killed, he replied, “Why are we being killed, this question should be known to the people of Kashmir. Hum Log To Kashmir” L ‘someone’s building is being built, someone’s brick factory is burning coal or some worker is doing the job of picking apples’.
Last week, a laborer from Bihar, Mumtaz Ahmed, was killed in a grenade attack while two of his colleagues were injured in Pulwama’s Gadora district, about ten kilometers from Magrepora.
Mumtaz Ahmed used to make beds by pitching tents on the roadside. A hand grenade was thrown inside his tent.
Dozens of migrant workers still live in the Gadora area. It was around 6:30 p.m., when we entered the town of Gadora and entered the building where dozens of migrant workers live.
Three workers were gossiping. Most of the workers had returned from work. We spoke to many workers here and they had different opinions.
Everyone was busy in their rooms to relieve their fatigue and prepare dinner. Some were lying down, some were carrying water and others were cutting vegetables.
There was no such thing as fear for Mohammad Saqib, a resident of Bihar. He has been coming to Kashmir for the last 13 years.
Mohammad Saqib used to say, “Nothing has happened to me yet, so I am not even afraid. Those who are afraid, only those know why they are afraid? If a stranger comes to me, I feel better. He seems welcome. Welcome . Him. The relatives are worried. They think that such an incident can happen to us too.”
Saqib says that he earns six hundred rupees in a day and makes an amount of around 15 thousand in a month. He also said that every month he is able to send 12 thousand to his family.
Mohammad Saqib lives in a room with his classmates. Each has to pay Rs 600 as rent in one month.
Another worker from West Bengal said he finds Kashmir a second home. In the conversation, he said that he spends most of the year in Kashmir.
A senior police officer told the BBC on condition of anonymity that incidents of killing of migrant workers by extremists in Kashmir are aimed at telling the country and the world that the situation in Kashmir is not good and , therefore, they want to bring the government behind the scenes of this.
He also said that when someone outside is killed, it becomes big news and sends the wrong message outside. At the same time, he also said that these incidents will not make much difference.
Regarding the official killings of migrant workers or civilians, the police have repeatedly reiterated that the extremists who perpetrated the incident have been identified and will be killed very soon. In many incidents, police also claimed that extremists involved in the deaths of civilians or migrant workers had been killed.
Attacks on migrant workers in recent years
Since October 2019, more than 20 migrant workers have been killed in targeted killings in Kashmir, including some truck drivers.
After the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August 2019, five workers from West Bengal were killed together in Kulgam in October 2019.
Presenting the figures of killings of migrant workers in Jammu and Kashmir in Parliament on July 26, 2022, the central government said that since 2017 (till July 26, 2022) 28 migrant workers have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir, of which seven workers hail from Bihar were living.
At least eight migrant workers have also been injured in these attacks by the extremists. Even in 2021, when the killings of migrant workers took place, many migrant workers had left Kashmir.
Killings of migrant workers in Kashmir have also happened in the past. Such incidents have seen a flare-up after the special status was withdrawn from the end.