SRINAGAR: Scores of non-locals who are working in the Valley have started leaving for their respective destinations after the spate of killings targeting non-local labourers.
Four non-locals were shot dead in separate attacks in the last two days since October 16. The attacks carried out by militants, according to police, have spurred fear among non-locals who come to Kashmir every year for doing jobs such as mason, carpenters, labourers etc.
The fear was intensified after an order by police circulated on social media asked non-locals labourers to reach the concerned police stations or security camps. Later, the police termed the order fake.
Muhammad Salim, a non-local who sells golgappas at busy Lal chowk, was one of them. As soon as he heard about the news, he began calling his family members telling them he was coming home. His roommates too did the same.
“It has really become unpredictable. Who is killing us? And why? No one has answers. In our hearts we know that we are here for earning livelihood, but this seems not enough. Killings have caused fear,” he told Kashmir Reader. Salim has been in Kashmir for nearly a decade and has seen 2016 protests, 2019 lockdown but the situation is completely different today.
More than 10, mostly non-locals, have been killed in two weeks. The first one was that of a golgappa vendor at lal Bazar followed by another in Srinagar’s Eidgah area and Kulgam. The string of attacks occurred even after the government intensified their operations against militants in Kashmir. Nearly a dozen of militants including the ones responsible for a few killings, as per the police were killed.
Amid this the killings continue with the government forces deployed in Kashmir in strength to prevent the attack.
On Monday evening, a huge number of non-local labourers were seen crowding around the police stations. One of them was found at Shaheed Gunj police station.
One non-local worker said that he has come here because he has been told to report to police station.
At Sopore, non-local labourers were gathered at an educational institution and were seen hiring cabs to leave Kashmir.