The West Bengal government is facilitating the return of its 131 workers from Jammu and Kashmir, days after five labourers from the state were shot dead by terrorists in Kulgam. Nine people are being brought back from Srinagar, the remaining from Baramulla and other parts of the Valley, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Friday.
These workers had contacted the state government after the attack, seeking its help to return. Two senior police officials from Bengal are being sent to Srinagar to oversee arrangements for their return, she said.
"131 workers from Bengal, currently in Kashmir, are being brought back to the state. Nine are already in Srinagar. 121 are being brought to Srinagar from Baramulla and other parts of Kashmir. The workers had contacted the Bengal government, seeking help getting back," she told NDTV.
"Two ADG rank officers are being sent to Srinagar to facilitate their exit," she added.
The Bengal government has arranged for a special train coach for the workers who want to return, news agency PTI has reported.
"We are bringing back 131 people who had gone to Jammu and Kashmir for work, but are now unwilling to continue there," an official was quoted by PTI.
The workers were reportedly apprehensive about their safety after recent attacks in Kashmir on people from other parts of the country.
Five labourers were killed and another injured in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Kulgam district on Tuesday. The incident came a day after terrorists shot a truck driver in Anantnag district and targeted people waiting at a bus stand in Sopore.
Police said that the labourers, from Sagardighi in West Bengal's Murshidabad, were at a local resident's home when the terrorists attacked. Of the five labourers, three were identified as Sheikh Kamrudin, Sheikh Mohammed Rafiq and Sheikh Murnsulin. The injured man, Zahooruddin, was taken to the Anantnag district hospital for treatment.
All the victims were farm workers.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had condemned the attack.
"We are shocked and deeply saddened at the brutal killings in Kashmir. Five workers from Murshidabad lost their lives. Words will not take away the grief of the families of the deceased. All help will be extended to the families in this tragic situation," Ms Banerjee had tweeted.
Terrorists are attacking truck drivers and labourers from outside, months after the centre ended special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and split the state into two union territories. Most of the attacks targeted truck drivers ferrying fruits, and farm workers.
With inputs from PTI