Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) President Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Saturday demanded immediate evacuation of J&K residents including students and labourers who are stranded away from their homes within and outside country.In a statement issued here, Bukhari urged the government of India to take urgent measures in order to ensure availability of food, shelter and medicines to such stranded J&K residents including students and the labourers who are stuck in different parts of the country amid COVID-19 lockdown.“The unprecedented lockdown necessitated by COVID-19 outbreak across the country has rendered thousands of J&K residents, including students and laborers, stranded away from their respective homes. I appeal the union government to take concrete measures for their safe evacuation and till then, make all arrangements through the receptive state governments for their shelter and sustenance,” Bukhari demanded.He said hundreds of students, traders especially dealing with handicrafts and labourers from J&K are stranded in different parts of the country including Goa, Kolkata, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Mumbai, Punjab, Uttrakhand and Hyderabad who have sent distress calls to their families. “I am told that most of these stranded students and labourers are facing immense difficulties including running short of money due to government imposed country wide lockdown to prevent spread of the deadly Coronavirus. The central government must take concrete measures to address their woes,” Bukhari appealed.
Bukhari said that some students, labourers and traders have returned their homes after hectic efforts but are not being allowed to move towards Kashmir at Lakhanpur toll post. “The J&K government should facilitate their safe return and screening so that they remain with their families in these hard times. Till then they should be provided with food and shelter on priority basis,” he pleaded.The JKAP president remarked that if the evacuation of J&K stranded students, traders and labourers from rest of the country and outside India is not possible at the moment due to the unprecedented situation, the bare minimum government of India could do is to reach out to them with the help of respective state governments and embassies in different parts of the world where they are stranded in.He said that most of the students and labourers who are stuck within different parts of J&K and rest of the country are desperately waiting for some mode of transportation to reach to their homes. “The J&K government should also ask its administration to prepare a database of those stranded within and outside J&K and take up the matter with the respective state governments so that food, shelter, medicines and other necessary items could be provided to them in these pressing circumstances,” the JKAP president observed.“Similarly, the government of India should reach out to the J&K students and businessmen who are stuck in different countries like UK, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bahrain, Iran and Qatar and are not in a position to return to their country in view of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he urged the external affairs ministry, government of India.