SRINAGAR: Indian authorities have started moving thousands of migrant workers in occupied Kashmir to safe locations overnight, while hundreds have fled the valley after a wave of targeted killings, two officials said on Monday.
Kashmiri fighters have killed 11 civilians, including five migrant workers, in held Kashmir since Oct 6 despite a widespread crackdown in the heavily militarised region.
“We moved thousands of workers to secure places and are facilitating their return home,” a senior police official said.
In other areas, Indian forces had intensified patrolling to prevent any militant activity, the official added.
A government spokesman in Srinagar declined to comment on the movement of migrant workers.
The decision to move workers came after an attack on migrant labourers from Bihar on Sunday. Police said assailants barged into a rented room in Kulgam district and fired at them, leaving two dead and one wounded.
The India-occupied region has gone through bouts of violence over the years, but the latest wave of attacks appears to be targeted towards non-Kashmiris, including migrant workers, and members of the Hindu and Sikh communities.
Some of them said they now fear for their lives.
“We have seen worse times, but were never targeted. This time, we are afraid,” said 32-year old Mohammed Salam, who has worked in held Kashmir for the last six years.
Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2021