Kulgam attack: Five Bengal labourers laid to rest

Coffins containing bodies of the five labourers from Murshidabad district of West Bengal, who were allegedly killed in a militant attack in south Kashmir's Kulgam district, arrive at NSCBI Airport in Kolkata, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. (PTI Photo)

The mortal remains of five labourers, killed in a terror attack in Kashmir, were on Thursday laid to rest at their hometown here in West Bengal's Murshidabad district, as people from far-flung areas turned up in large numbers to bid them adieu.

State Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari and TMC MP Mohua Maitra, who were here to attend the last rites, handed over cheques of Rs 5 lakh each as compensation to the families of the labourers, on behalf of the government.

Among others, state urban development minister Firhad Hakim and local political leaders offered their condolences to the family members.

The five labourers were dragged out of their rented room and shot dead by terrorists in Kulgam district of Kashmir on Tuesday. One labourer, also from Murshidabad, sustained bullet injuries in the attack and was currently undergoing treatment at a Srinagar hospital.

A seventh person, who had escaped unhurt as he was out to get food, was suffering from "trauma", sources said.

He was brought to Kolkata on Wednesday and admitted to SSKM hospital.

Hakim, who was at the Kolkata airport on Wednesday night to receive the bodies of the labourers, lashed out at the BJP-led central government over the security situation in Kashmir, seeking to know the purpose of abrogating Article 370, in the wake of the recent terror attacks.

He also questioned the "silence" of Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the incident.

"The citizens of this country are being killed and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is silent. What is the use of abolishing Article 370 in the Valley when so many people are getting killed? It means the terror activities have not stopped in the valley," he told reporters.

In an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "56-inch chest" speech, Hakim said, "What was the point of having 56-inch or 72-inch chest if the Union government can't protect its citizens."

Earlier in the day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had demanded a thorough inquiry into the incident.

Maintaining that the Centre was responsible for the law and order situation in the Valley, she said, "In Kashmir, there are no political activities, no political parties. The entire administration belongs to the central government, the Army and other central forces.

"On that day a delegation of European Union parliamentarians was visiting the state. Inspite of everything, how could they abduct these poor innocent fellows ... I'm really shocked."

A delegation of parliamentarians from the European Union was in Kashmir to talk to locals and ask them about their experience after the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution.

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