Over 129 Kashmiri Labourers Stranded in Shimla Jama Masjid
SRINAGAR, APRIL 21—More than 129 Kashmiri labourers are stranded in Shimla Jama Masjid without food or money.
After CPI(M) MLA Rakesh Singha sat on a dharna on Monday, Himachal Pradesh government came into action and provided ration to Kashmiri labourers stuck in Jama Masjid for the last 30 days. Singha is on indefinite dharna at Shimla Deputy Commissioner's office.
“We have age-old relations with Kashmir. We too are dealing with apples. Kashmir also grows this fruit. After Article 370 abrogation, so many people from Kashmir came here for work. I got a call that people in Jama Masjid are not getting ration. The administration said they are giving, but labourers denied. There was a dispute,” said Singha over phone.
Conservative figures reveal that there are 1400 to 1500 Kashmiris working in Himachal Pradesh. Most of the people are working as coolies and daily wage labourers.
For the last 29 days, nearly 129 labourers, mostly from Anantnag and Kulgam districts in South Kashmir, are stranded in Jama Masjid at Shimla. “Whatever we earned, was spent on food in the last 29 days. Even quarantine is for 14 days, we have completed 29 days,” Bashir Ahmad, a labourer from Kokarnag area of Anantnag district, told India Tomorrow over phone.
Bashir had called up Singla informing him about the plight of the people stranded in the Jama Masjid. “Since yesterday, we have been given ration. It includes four to five katas (bags) of rice, two katas of aata (wheat flour) and around 20 to 30 kilograms of daal(pulses). We have not ventured out of Masjid gate for the last 29 days,” he said.
Most of the labourers are running out of the money as all their savings have been exhausted in the lockdown. “We want to go home and be with our families in this hour of crisis. The administration is saying that they have received a message not to send us home,” said Bashir.
Singla said all the migrant labourers should be given free ration. “Whether he is from Bihar, Jharkhand or Kashmir, every labourer should be given free ration. There are 30,000 to 40,000 migrant labourers working in different areas of Himachal Pradesh. We want all of them should be given free ration. They are not even living in tents. They have laid tarpaulin sheets,” he said.