Kashmir militant group withdraws threat against migrant workers
30 July 2007
The Daily Times
Srinagar: Indian-held Kashmirs leading militant group on Monday withdrew a threat to migrant workers to leave the Himalayan state or face violence, but urged them to expel criminal elements. They (migrant workers) have no threat from our side but it is their duty to send unwanted and criminal elements back, Hizbul Mujahedin spokesman Ehsan Elahi said in a statement. On Saturday, Hizbul ordered all migrant workers to leave Kashmir within one week after police arrested four people, including two non-Kashmiri labourers, for allegedly raping and murdering a teenage Muslim schoolgirl. But the militants withdrew the threat a day after a leading Kashmir separatist, Syed Ali Geelani, said that only criminal migrant workers should leave the state and not all non-locals as demanded by Hizbul. There is no estimate of non-Kashmiri labourers in the state, but thousands of people from the poorer Indian regions work in Kashmir as masons, carpenters, ice-cream sellers and barbers.