‘I Saw Migrants Fleeing Kashmir Flock Jammu Railway Station Helplessly'
Thousands of migrants have flocked the Jammu Railway Station to catch trains back to their homes.
Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj
October has seen several targeted killings of minorities and non-kashmiris in the valley. This has again led to an environment of fear and panic amongst the migrant labourers working in Kashmir.
Thousands of migrants fleeing the valley have flocked the Jammu Railway Station to catch trains back to their homes.
When I went to the Railway station, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Thousands of migrant labourers had filled the ground around the railway station and they were just waiting to board trains to their homes. The scenes are also scary because COVID protocols are nowhere to be followed as experts have already warned of another outbreak.
When I spoke to some of them, I got to know that some of them either didn’t have money to book tickets or tickets were simply not available.
"I have been here for three days now. I don’t have money to buy a ticket. So, I am staying here waiting for some help to come.”Migrant Worker from Assam
Another migrant worker, from Bihar, who was trying to buy a train ticket said, “In the morning, I waited for 4 hours in the queue. I am unable to get a ticket. We are helpless. We request that the number of ticket counters be increased. There are only two ticket counters. We are unable to get tickets for ourselves. We don’t know what to do.”
While these labourers from different parts of the country, working in the Kashmir valley, are trying a way out to get back to their homes, locals and NGOs have stepped up to provide them with food and water.
“For three days, we have been providing them breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Government has got nothing to do with this. We are doing this as a social responsibility, considering this is a sad time for humanity, we are standing with them and providing langar (free meals).”Deepak Gupta, President, Traders Federation, Jammu
“We have been feeding them for the last four days now. Around 1,000 food packets every day. It was the government's duty to help them to the extent that they could reach back to their homes. They could have arranged trains for them to go back to their homes. There is no arrangement of trains. Government is not thinking about responding to this tragedy.”Daya Krishna Koul, Vice Chairman, Panun Kashmir
While food and water are provided to these people by with the help of local people, migrants are finding it difficult to fulfil their toilet and washroom needs, especially women.
“There should be a separate bathroom for women. There isn’t one now. Everyone is using the only one here. Its condition is very poor. It’s filled with dirt.”Migrant Worker
While they struggle to reach back to their homes, they hope that at one point the government will come for their help.
“If situations like these happen, then where will we go? The country is ours. Villages and cities are also our own. Where do we go? Who do we ask for help?The government isn’t thinking about us. They only come during the time of elections. We have been stuck here for four days now... did anyone see? Did we get food or not? How do we go home? Did anyone think about this? Nobody thought about us. We are left to live in the situation we are in. The government should think about this,” says a migrant worker from Bihar who used to do a paint job in Kashmir.
(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)
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