Bengal facilitating return of 131 labourers from J&K

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses during 'Bijaya Sammilani' at Siliguri Police line in North Bengal. (PTI Photo)

The West Bengal government is facilitating the return of 131 people working in Jammu and Kashmir, to the state, a senior official said on Friday.

The state government has arranged for a special coach for the workers, who have expressed a desire to return following the killing of five workers from the state in Kashmir on October 29, she said.

"We are bringing back 131 people who had gone to J&K for work, but are now unwilling to continue there," the official said.

While nine labourers have already reached Jammu, the rest are on their way from Srinagar for the same destination, from where they would board the train to Kolkata.

The official said the West Bengal government took the decision after a senior minister received video footage in which Bengali labourers were seen urging the government to take steps in bringing them back.

"The workers are fearful that they will be killed if they continued to live in the Kashmir Valley," she said.

They belong to North Dinajpur, Coochbehar and Murshidabad districts and have been working in the Valley for more than 15 years, she said.

On October 29, five men from Bahalnagar village in West Bengal's Murshidabad district Kamruddin Sheikh, Mursalim Sheikh, Rafikul Sheikh, Rafiq Sheikh and Naimuddin Sheikh were gunned down in Kulgam district of the Valley.

Two labourers, Bashirul Sarkar and Jahiruddin Sarkar, had survived the attacks.

The state government had earlier announced an ex- gratia amount of Rs five lakh to the kin of each of the five labourers.

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