Bodies of Migrant Labourers Killed in J&K Handed Over to Kin in WB
Since the Centre’s decision on Article 370, terrorists have been targeting truckers and labourers.
Video Editor: Varun Sharma
The bodies of the five labourers who were killed by terrorists in Kulgam, Jamm and Kashmir, on 29 October, were handed over to their families in Murshidabad, West Bengal, on Thursday, 31 October, ANI reported.
The West Bengal government has announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs. 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased.
While five of the labourers were killed on 29 October, another was critically injured and is recovering from his injuries at a hospital in Srinagar, reported PTI.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday condemned the central government for the attack.
“Now, the entire J&K administration is in the hands of the central government. With all the precautions in place when EU parliamentarians were visiting Kashmir, how were the labourers killed?” Mamata questioned.
Earlier, Banerjee had described the killings as brutal and expressed her shock and grief over the incident.
Victims Hailed From Murshidabad
Of the five labourers, three have been identified as Sheikh Kamrudin, Sheikh Mohammed Rafiq and Sheikh Murnsulin, according to NDTV.
The injured man, Zahooruddin, was taken to the Anantnag district hospital for treatment, the report said.
Police sources told IANS that the militants came to the Katrasoo village in Kulgam, pulled out the masons and carpenters hailing from outside the state and opened fire at them, killing five of them on the spot.
All the victims hailed from Murshidabad district of West Bengal, the police told news agency PTI.
The attack happened on the day a delegation of 23 EU MPs arrived in Srinagar to a complete shutdown, and clashes between people and security forces were reported in several parts of the city.
Security forces have cordoned off the area and a massive search operation has been initiated, ANI reported, quoting J&K police sources.
‘I Want My Father Back’
Coping with the sudden loss of the sole breadwinners, families of the of the labourers are still in shock.
“I want my father back. We have debts to pay. Who will pay them. He had taken a huge loan to build a house. So we have a lot of debt,” said the daughter of Sheikh Mursalin.
“My son will now go to Class 5. He said that he will enroll my son to a new school and also buy him a bicycle. My son is still waiting for his father to come back and buy him a bicycle. You have stolen my ability to hope. Who will earn our bread and butter. Who will run the house,” she added with tears in her eyes.
“I last talked to him on Saturday at 11:30 in the night. He said that he will stay for a few more days before he comes back. It is very cold there. He had said that he will take the train on 1 November,” she said.
J&K Congress Condemns Attack
The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee condemned the killing, terming it a cowardly act of terrorists.
“The JKPCC has strongly condemned the killing of five labourers from West Bengal in Kitrusu Village of Kulgam district in south Kashmir last evening. It is a cowardly act of terrorists,” a party spokesman said.
The JKPCC also expressed shock over the deaths of one civilian and injuries to some others in Pakistan shelling today.
"The poor labourers who had come all the way from West Bengal for earning their livelihoods have become the victim of senseless and cowardly act of terrorists", he said.
“The incident is shocking and the entire rank and file of the party expresses its deep sympathies with the families of the victims and pray for peace to the departed souls and early recovery to the injured,” he said.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, 30 October.
In the letter, the Member of Parliament (MP) urged PM Modi to consider his suggestion of sending an ‘all-party delegation to the Valley to asses the situation.’
The party also condemned Pakistan for repeated unprovoked firing and sought a befitting response from the government.
Truckers and Labourers Targeted
Since the Centre's decision to abrogate Article 370, terrorists have been targeting truckers and labourers in the state.
The attack on Tuesday comes just a day after a truck driver was shot dead by terrorists in Bijbehara’s in Anantnag.
Narayan Dutt, a resident of Katra, was the fourth driver to be killed by militants since 5 August, when the Centre made the decision on Article 370 and split the state into two Union Territories.
On 24 October, terrorists killed two non-Kashmiri truck drivers in Shopian district.
On 14 October, two terrorists, including a suspected Pakistani national, shot dead the driver of a truck having Rajasthan registration number and assaulted an orchard owner in Shopian district.
On 16 October, a Punjab-based apple trader was killed when terrorists attacked him in Shopian district. A brick kiln worker from Chhattisgarh was also shot dead by militants in Pulwama district on the same day.
(With inputs from NDTV, PTI and ANI)
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