A section of migrant workers said that they were scared, but were not planning to leave Kashmir as the local people are kind.

Representational image of an Indian Army soldier in KashmirImage for representation: PTI
news Militancy Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 08:52

Mobile internet services were suspended in parts of the Kashmir Valley as a precautionary measure on Monday in the aftermath of recent civilian killings. Nine civilians have been murdered by militants in Kashmir over the last 15 days triggering fear, anger and panic in the Valley. In Srinagar district, the areas where the service was suspended include Anchar, Eidgah, Qamarwari, Soura, Maharajgunj, Nowhatta, Safa Kadal and Bagyass. In Kulgam district, it was suspended in Wanpoh, Qaimoh and in Pulwama, the service was suspended in the Litter area.

On October 12, a street vendor from Bihar, Virender Paswan was killed by militants in Srinagar's Eidgah area. The same day, the owner of a reputed pharmacy and well-known Kashmiri Pandit, ML Bindroo, and a taxi driver were killed. On October 14, a school principal and a teacher were killed in the Eidgah area of Srinagar by militants. On Saturday, a street vendor from Bihar and a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh were killed in two attacks by militants. On Sunday, two labourers from Bihar were killed and another critically injured in Kulgam district.

Labourers from several parts of the country come to the Valley every year in early March for skilled and unskilled jobs such as masonry, carpentry, welding and farming, and go back home before the onset of winter in November. "We are scared but we are not going back to Bihar, at least not yet. We go back in the first week of November every year and that is how it will be this time too," Shankar Narayan, a 45-year-old labourer from Bihar, told PTI.

Kumar, who like Narayan also hails from Bihar, said he will go back to his native place according to schedule in the first week of November. Narayan has been coming to Kashmir every March for the past 15 years and works here till the first week of November before returning home. He said he has not faced any problem during his stay in Kashmir. "People have been helpful. When there was a complete shutdown for five months in 2016, we were not harmed even though locals suffered a lot," he told PTI.

Kumar and Narayan said they would not have come here if they could have got similar wages anywhere else. "We would not have come here in the first place but wages back home are not even half of what we get here. Also, people are very kind and generous," Kumar said.

Meanwhile, several political, social and religious organisations on Monday staged anti-Pakistan protests in Jammu against the recent killing of civilians by militants in Kashmir. The BJP's youth wing, the Shiv Sena, the Dogra Front, the Jagti Front and the Bajrang Dal were among the organisations that held demonstrations in different parts of Jammu.  The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) held a demonstration against Pakistan for supporting and promoting terrorism in India.

The protest was led by its president Arun Prabhat Singh. Addressing protesters, he said the brutal targeted killings by terrorists is another example of cowardness of Pakistan and its sponsored terrorist outfits. "These terrorist acts will not suppress nationalist voices in the Valley and the rising popularity of a nationalist party like the BJP among the people of the Valley," Singh told reporters.

"These are the cowardly acts by terrorists, which would only reaffirm the BJP workers' determination and to help Prime Minister Narendra Modi realise the dream of taking Jammu and Kashmir to new heights," he added.

Led by Ashok Gupta, activists of the Dogra Front and the Shiv Sena held anti-Pakistan protests. Led by Sunil Dimple, locals of several areas took out a protest rally in the New Plot area against Pakistan over the killings of minorities Hindus and Sikhs in Kashmir.

With IANS and PTI inputs

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