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‘Don’t know who will attack and when’: Migrant workers start leaving Pulwama

The Indian Express, India, 14 April 2022 - On the roadside in Pruchoo village of Pulwama, Dheeraj Kumar keeps an eye on passersby as he prepares mortar for construction of a house, his nerves on edge every time a stranger approaches. “I know, they (the militants) are targeting people from outside Kashmir. But what else can we do?” says Kumar, who is from Bagaha in Bihar. “We will die either way. If I don’t work here, what do I feed my family back home? I am just taking precautions and hope nothing happens.”

Over the past 20 days, seven migrant workers have been shot at and left injured in Kashmir — all the attacks happening in the southern district of Pulwama. Authorities have made little progress in finding the suspects, and amidst the fear and uncertainty, many migrant workers have left for either their home towns or other parts of the Valley.

The attacks come five months after militants carried out a similar series of attacks on non-locals, leaving five dead in October. This time, they appear to be taking care to not kill, aiming for limbs, but for the daily wagers who can’t afford losing work, that is of little consolation.

The first attack in the latest round of shootings was on March 19 when suspected militants shot at Mohammad Akram, a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh. The last was on April 7, when Sonu Sharma, a labourer from Pathankot in Punjab, was attacked at Yader village of Pulwama. On March 21, a labourer from Bihar, Biswajeet Kumar, was injured, while on April 3, suspected militants shot at a driver and a conductor, Surinder and Dheeraj Dutt, from Pathankot. On April 4, two labourers from Bihar, Patlashwar Kumar and Jakku Choudhary, were attacked.



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