By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: Taking up the cause of thousands of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) migrant labourers stuck outside the state in the wake of a national lockdown affected to contain the Novel Corona or Covid-19 virus epidemic spread, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha spoke to Chief Ministers of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. He urged the CMs to make arrangement of their return.
These labourers migrate every winter for work in neighbouring states. In a normal course of events they would have gone back to J&K towards the beginning of April month however a national lockdown has forced them to stay back in their respective areas within Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. As there is no commercial activity it has not only affected their earnings but also put mental and financial pressure on them.
Highlighting the need for permitting these labourers to return to J&K, Azad asked these CMs that these labourers be allowed to go back to J&K and all the Chief Ministers have shown their willingness in this regard.
Senior congress leader Azad, who is also former chief minister of J&K and a former union minister, said he also spoke with Lt. Governor of J&K, G C Murmu and Chief Secretary, in this regard, and requested them to make necessary arrangements for getting back these labourers.
There are more than 3,000 residents of Jammu and Kashmir, including 800 students, who are stranded in different parts of India due to the ongoing lockdown.
Besides this, thousands of Kashmiri students are stranded in Ukraine, Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Iran and several other countries with their families back in the Valley worried about their health and well-being. They are living under constant fear and distress as most of them are running out of money without receiving any support from the governments in these countries. They have appealed to the Indian government to evacuate them from there.
In Ukraine, at least 200 Kashmiri students are stranded. Mohammad Aasif Tariq, who is studying medicine at Sumi State University in Ukraine, said they have been lodged in a crowded hostel room.
Stranded Kashmiri students and workers are using social media to highlight their plight to the authorities. They plead for the immediate evacuation from their respective places.
A group of female students stuck in Zia Sarai Hauz Khaas, Delhi told a Kahsmiri newspaper that they are stranded since the first lockdown was announced last month and facing a lot of difficulties during the holy month Ramadan.