Indian state leader to move migrant workers from Kashmir after violence

Kashmiri villagers carry the body of a migrant worker who was shot dead by gunmen south of Srinagar in Indian controlled Kashmir. (AP)
Updated 02 November 2019

Indian state leader to move migrant workers from Kashmir after violence

  • The migrant workers will be identified and moved by train to eastern states
  • Much of Kashmir’s economy is dependent on outside laborers who work in construction, hotels and apple orchards

KOLKATA, India: More than 100 migrant workers from India’s Kashmir will be moved after a spate of killings by suspected separatist militants underlined the threat to outsiders in the restive region.
Senior officials working for the chief minister of the eastern state of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, said on Saturday she decided to move the workers out of Kashmir to prevent them from becoming a potential target for militant groups who the government says have intensified attacks on civilians belonging to states except Kashmir.
The migrant workers will be identified and moved by train to eastern states, the officials said.
Last week, suspected militants barged into a house in southern Kashmir, marched out six men who had come to work in the orchards and paddy fields from West Bengal, lined them up and shot them, police said.
Five died, a sixth, who the gunmen had left for dead, survived, to tell the tale that has fanned fears of further attacks on outsiders, officials say.
“We have orders from the state leader to escort all the Bengali laborers out of Kashmir after five Muslim laborers from West Bengal were killed,” said a senior police official in Kolkata, capital of West Bengal.
Migrant workers are a soft target for militants, and during the past few weeks 11 have been killed, including the victims of this latest atrocity, the government said.
Much of Kashmir’s economy is dependent on outside laborers who work in construction, hotels and apple orchards.
None of the militant groups that are fighting Indian rule in Muslim majority Kashmir claimed responsibility for the attack on migrant workers.
The separatist insurgency in Kashmir began three decades ago, but the latest flare up in violence followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision in August to take away the autonomy previously offered to India’s only Muslim majority state.
India is hoping that by opening up property rights in Kashmir to people from outside the region it can reignite economic growth, create jobs and turn the focus away from a militant uprising in which more than 40,000 people have died.
But for the government to have any chance of succeeding, it will have to remove the growing sense of insecurity among Indians who have risked coming to Kashmir to make a living.


Daesh fighter stuck on Turkey-Greece borders returned to US

Updated 58 min 25 sec ago

Daesh fighter stuck on Turkey-Greece borders returned to US

  • Minister Suleyman Soylu: The American on the shared border with Greece has just been expelled from Istanbul by plane to the United States
  • The man, identified as Muhammad Darwis B, a US citizen of Jordanian descent, was captured in Syria on suspicion of ties to the Daesh group

ISTANBUL: A suspected US Daesh fighter, trapped for days between the Turkish and Greek borders, was sent back to the United States Friday, Turkey’s interior minister said.
“The American on the shared border with Greece has just been expelled from Istanbul by plane to the United States,” Suleyman Soylu was quoted as saying by Turkish media.
The man, identified as Muhammad Darwis B, a US citizen of Jordanian descent, was captured in Syria on suspicion of ties to the Daesh group, according to state news agency Anadolu.
Turkish authorities say the US had initially refused to accept him, and that he chose deportation to Greece, only for Greek authorities to refuse him entry on Monday.
He was trapped in no-man’s land between the borders, next to Turkey’s northeastern province of Edirne, though Turkish border guards gave him food and a car to sleep in at night, according to Anadolu.
There was an apparent breakthrough on Thursday, when Turkey said the US “committed to taking him back.”
Turkey has criticized Western countries for not taking back captured members of Daesh, and has lately publicized its efforts to deport extremists back to their countries of origin.
It follows criticism of Turkey’s offensive last month against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, which Western governments complained would undermine the fight against Daesh.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said last week that Turkey had nearly 1,200 foreign members of Daesh in custody, and had captured 287 during the offensive in Syria.
The Hurriyet newspaper said Wednesday that 959 suspects were being prepared for deportation, with the largest numbers coming from Iraq, Syria and Russia.