Setting Aside Own Woes, Violence-hit Kashmir Neighbourhood Reaches Out to Migrant with Help

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Migrant worker Asraf Ali.

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Days after Srinagar’s Kanimazar locality turned into rubble during an operation by police and paramilitary forces a desperate migrant worker appeared in a street corner looking for help. He wanted to return to his home in Assam, but he had no money.

When a bunch of youths saw 19-year-old Asraf Ali sobbing in front of a shop, they inquired what he needed. And when he explained his problem to them, they took an initiative instantaneously. The boys pooled some cash from amongst themselves before reaching out to passers-by for contributions.

“Within half an hour, we were able to raise Rs 4,000,” said Hamayun, one of the boys who collected the money for the migrant.

The neighbourhood, located in the old town of the capital city of Srinagar, is grappling with the aftereffects of the gunfight in which forces destroyed 15 houses in an operation against two militants. To help the families that have lost their houses, the committee of a local mosque started a donation drive to help them rebuild their houses.

Despite their own woes, the residents of the locality did not forget their humanitarian duty. They helped Ali to fill his pocket with cash enough to foot the expenses of his journey back home.

Speaking to Clarion India, Irshad Ahmad, a resident of the locality said, “Though our homes are burnt and we are struggling to come to terms with the loss, we thought it was our obligation to help him by whatever little contribution we could afford.”

They took him to the commissioner’s office to get himself registered and then accompanied him to the Tourist Reception Centre.

in a video clip shared by a local news website, an ecstatic Ali says he is happy that he got help from the locals in Srinagar while neither the Indian Army nor the local police came to his help. “If I were stuck at some place outside Kashmir, I would have died of hunger. But I am grateful that you people helped me. I want you to be happy and I pray for you.”

Ali worked in a poultry farm at the outskirts of the city. But, according to Irshad, when the lockdown was clamped his employer asked him to leave the farm handing him a paltry sum of Rs 1,500. The money lasted him for two months during which he also underwent institutional quarantine for two weeks.

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