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‘Kashmiryat exposed’, fleeing migrant workers alleging non-payment of wages
JammuExpress. Dated: 10/20/2021 2:40:15 PM


Jammu, October 19:

At a time when terrorists are selectively killing migrant workers in Kashmir, those who fled Valley to save their lives are alleging that they are not being paid wages by their employers.

Thousands of workers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab have fled Valley following the selective killing carried out by the terrorists inspired by Islamic State in Kashmir. Most of those killed workers do petty jobs in the Valley to earn livelihood. Majority of the labour in field is done by non-kashmiri people.

Flight of poor workers from Valley has also exposed the ‘Kashmiryat’, expounded by separatists and mainstream political parties as many of the workers who are returning are in tears following the treatment meted to them during recent past. Failure of administration to provide help is also a major issue.

There are demands that the Labour Department must in fact issue a help line number for them and provide all possible assistance in these distressing times and make registration of migrant workers compulsory to avoid their exploitation by middlemen and un-authorised contractors.

Meanwhile ex-BJP MLC, Girdhari Lal Raina has urged UT administration to take visibly concrete steps to ensure safety of soft targets in Kashmir including poor labourers and street vendors from other states.

“These poor hardworking men and women are complaining of non-payment of their wages earned over a period of time. It is a really serious matter of concern and the administration must intervene to safeguard payment of earnings to them”, claims Raina.

These vulnerable labourers and workers leaving Kashmir in pain and helplessness is not good for anyone and will have long term consequences affecting the economy adversely. Economy of the UT that is already hit adversely by Covid-19 pandemic will further deteriorate if the present situation worsens further.

The UT administration needs to take some bold steps including housing migrant workers in safe locations. Delay in re-establishing security pickets in areas where minority community members are living is also adding to the sense of insecurity, he purported.

During the peak of summer, according to estimates, there are nearly four lakh non-local labourers in Kashmir and nearly 50 percent among them are from Bihar. During summers, migrant labourers can be seen on various streets to fetch work.

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