129 Kashmiri labourers stuck in Shimla allege starvation, CPM MLA threatens hunger strike

Update: 2020-04-19 18:09 GMT

Shimla: Kashmiri migrant labourers, around 129 in number, stuck in Shimla's Jama Masjid due to lockdown on Sunday alleged discrimination in distribution of ration by local authorities, which are also forcing them to vacate the Masjid – the only place of their shelter in the town.

"We are at the verge of starvation. No body has come to our help. Even politicians, who come only to seek votes have not shown their faces .We have not been provided a grain for past one month. Now, we have run out of money, food and also shelter as they want us to vacate the Masjid," said Nisaar Ahmed.

Joined by Pervez and Faiz, Nisaar said they want to go back to Kashmir, their homes but no one is listening to their cries .It's a terrible situation.

"We will pay bus fares but for God's sake send us to homes. We do'nt want to die of hunger," Faiz told media persons.

As they ran out of their patience in the day, when orders came for vacation of the place, lone CPM MLA Rakesh Singha –a fireband workers' leader, came to their support, and reached at the Masjid.

"Tomorrow, I am going to sit at dharna in favour of these poor labourers, who were facing bias in distribution of food and ration to the people stuck in the town. How shameful that ration was being distributed to chosen few, identifiable by their names and faces," said Singha.

When told that district administration has made a claim about ration having been given to these labourers, Singha said "administration is telling a black lie. It is totally inhumane I will take this case before the human rights commission."

As par information, three officials, visited the Jama Masjid on March 31 and took the details of the workers. They knew that 129 workers were staying in the Masjid. What was offered to them –50 Kg rice,15 kg dal and 35 kg atta (wheat flour) to divide them in these 129 workers.

"This is insufficient and unacceptable" he alleged

The CPM MLA said "those who do not know me I want to tell them that I will fight till my last breath against this cruel inhuman and planned conspiracy of the administration. I also know that pick and choose method has been used to permit NGOs from extending a helping hand to the helpless in this period of crisis."

Cong memo to Governor

A delegation of the Congress led by Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri, on Sunday met Governor Bandaru Dattatreya and made a strong demand asking the government to take urgent steps to bring back students stranded at different places outside the state due to lockdown.

Former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who also accompanied Agnihotri, expressed surprise as how the government had turned blind eye to the plights of hundreds of students who are unable to return homes, and are desperate to come. The government must take steps to rescue and bring them back safely as had been done by the UP government for students at Kota. The delegation asked for converting HPTDC hotels, rest houses as quarantine centres, mass testing, providing PPE kits to medical staff, and Rs one crore package to families of the Corona worriers.

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