Stranded In West Bengal, Kashmiris Seek A Train Ride Home

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SRINAGAR: A few thousand people stranded in West Bengal allege that they the administration in Jammu and Kashmir has seemingly forgotten them. The local authorities, they said, are telling them that they have no communication about their evacuation.

“We are around 4000 people stranded across West Bengal,” one Srinagar resident said. “If we get communication about a special train, we can assembly within 24 hours but the problem is that we have no information about this.”

Posted by Yawar Ahangar on Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The area is witnessed a massive rise in temperature. “It is already 42 degree and we are not used to living in this situation,” the stranded people said. “One person Ghulam Rasool Reshi son of Abdul Rehman Reshi from Saidpora Harwan already died of a cardiac arrest. We laid him to rest locally at Howrah near a mosque. His widow later called the Deputy Commissioner Srinagar and sought help in returning home.”

The stranded said that the body was taken over by the West Bengal officials and not returned. He had suffered chest pain and was driven to the hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Stranded people said they are scattered across West Bengal but most of them are concentrated in and around Kolkata. All of them are associated with handicrafts, selling them door to door. They have been serving the market for decades and have developed a fairly strong relationship with the host population.

Ghulam Rasool Reshi, a Kashmiri handicraft dealer, who died in Kolkotta and was buried there. His wife and son are stranded in Kolkotta.

They identified the clusters where the Kashmiri are stranded as Park Circus – where around 200 are stranded; Ripen Street (400); Topsia (400); Mothua Bridge (1000); Krishna Nagar (100); Asansol (60); and 24-Paragama (100). There are also many people stranded in Durgapur, Burdwan, Gariya, Khadrpur, Tikya Pada and Behrampora.

These people live in rented accommodations. Most of what they had earned during the winters, they have already spent on managing their routines including the rent. “We hoped that while it was destiny, they might be able to reach home before the Eid but that seems to be a dream,” one stranded shawl seller said. “The government has appointed a nodal offer but he has not even picked our phone so far.”

In an emotional video that some of the stranded have uploaded on social media, they are saying that they got a call from an official number last night asking them to reach Howrah Railway station and collect their tickets. They reached the station only to be told that they have no information about any special train going to Jammu and Kashmir. The group of people in the video said the nodal officer appointed to take care of them is sitting in Delhi. They were carrying the son of the person who died last week.

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