JAMMU: In the backdrop of the recent civilian killings, including of non-locals, in the valley by terrorists, the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit on Tuesday said the administration must take concrete steps to ensure the safety of migrant labourers and vendors. In this month, so far, 11 people have been killed by terrorists in Kashmir. “We ask the Union territory administration to take visibly concrete steps to ensure the safety of soft targets in Kashmir, including poor labourers and street vendors, from other states,” Jammu and Kashmir BJP spokesperson and former legislator Girdhari Lal Raina told reporters here. He said that “(we are) not satisfied with the security measures, amidst continuing targeting of hapless workers, who are fleeing to protect their lives and honour”. Raina said that these poor hardworking men and women are complaining of non-payment of wages. It is a serious matter and the administration must intervene to safeguard payment of wages, he said. The labour department must in fact issue a helpline number for them and provide all possible assistance in these distressing times, Raina said. “It must also make registration of migrant workers compulsory to avoid their exploitation by middlemen and unauthorised contractors”, he added. The BJP spokesperson said that these vulnerable labourers and workers leaving Kashmir in “pain and helplessness” is not good as it will have adverse effects on the economy in the long term. “The economy of Jammu and Kashmir has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. It will further deteriorate if the present situation worsens,” Raina said. He said that the administration needs to take some bold steps, including providing housing for migrant workers in safe locations. “Delay in re-establishing security pickets in areas where minority community members are living is also adding to the sense of insecurity,” Raina claimed. Lakhs of labourers from different parts of the country come to the valley every year in early March for skilled and unskilled jobs such as masonry, carpentry, welding and farming, and go back home before the onset of winter in December. However, they are now in fear because of the killings by terrorists.

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