ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Impact of Conflict on Labour Migrants in Kashmir

The Kashmir Valley is an abode to countless number of migrants from different states and union territories of India. The present study throws light on the impact of conflict on these migrants along with the reasons behind this migration pull and their survival strategies.

The Kashmir Valley comprises of 10 districts, as registered by the Census of India 2011, namely Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian, and Kulgam of south Kashmir, Srinagar, and Budgam of central Kashmir and Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, and Ganderbal of north Kashmir. The census reported that the total population in the Valley, on the basis of the place of enumeration, was 68,88,475 persons with a sex ratio of 901. At the same time, it also reported that a total of 11,46,368 persons were in-migrants in the Valley whose last residence was within India. If we consider in-migrants as a part of total population in the Valley, then it indicates that about 16.64% were in-migrants including both Muslims and non-Muslims. About 77% of them were Muslims, 20% Hindus, and 3% Sikhs. However, Muslim in-migrants find Kashmir a preferable place as compared to non-Muslims. The in-migrants are mostly from poor regions and many belong to lower caste groups like Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes (Haque 2014). The results provided by Census 2011 show a lot of variation in the pattern of in-migration and in-mi­grant workers in different districts of the Valley.

Table 1 shows that migration is domina­ted by female in-migrants in the Kashmir Valley and most of them are from rural areas. The primary survey also highlighted that rural migration dominates in the Kashmir Valley with about 90% mig­rants coming from rural areas and only about 10% from urban areas. However, the results vary in the case of male–female ratio. About 92% migrants were males and only 8% were females. The difference may be because many migrants were mostly interviewed at work site ­locations where they usually assemble to find work, whereas female in-migrants do not assemble at such locations. They directly contact the employers and households to find work. Also, when males get work, they contact their females through mobile or personally and inform them to reach the work location. Table 1 also shows that the largest in-migration has taken place in Srinagar, accounting for about 17%, while Shopian district shows the least number of in-migrants (4.41%). Srinagar is the only city/urban area in the Valley and receives in-migrants mostly from urban areas comprising primarily females. Most of the rural in-migrants were found in Anantnag comprising mostly female workers (76.11%). Similarly, all the districts of the Valley, except Srinagar, have been dominated by the inflow of rural in-migrants. In both rural and urban category of in-migrants, females dominate (more than 50% in all districts). Most of the urban in-migrants have dominance in Srinagar due to its urbanised character while, as in all other districts, rural in-migrants dominate with females forming the majority. The difference between Srinagar and other rural districts can be easily understood. Urban in-migrants prefer to migrate ­towards cities or urban areas, whereas the rural ones, especially women workers, are migrating towards rural areas. It is clearly rural to rural and urban to urban stream of migration.

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Updated On : 16th Aug, 2023
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