45 years old trader from Srinagar, Javid Reshi who is living in Goa for years has informed, “We are roughly around 1500 diaspora here in Goa. Most of us come for seasonally here and go back by the end of March or beginning April so we all have had our flight confirmation which now all stands canceled.”
Most of these Kashmiris like Javid owns handicraft showrooms which are spread across Baga, Calangute, Candolim, Margao and Palolem area of Goa. Javid is a jeweller by profession, speaking to News Sense he informed that they are helping each other with basic amenities but people who are stuck in slightly rural areas are surviving only on cake. He said, “We are not having stock of basics essentials and currently going out for marketing is even difficult. We are helping each other in North Goa but our brothers stuck in Southern part of Goa are facing problems“.
Coronavirus outbreak has not only hit their business for the past two weeks but also made them feel insecure. “Goa has not seen lockdown earlier but it is common to us Kashmiris. We can understand this phase absolutely as we’d experienced it, uncertainty is disturbing to most of us. Our family members back in Kashmir are worried and nobody knows how long this situation will last“.
Meanwhile, another trader from Kashmir, Raies Ahmed Hakim, says Kerela government has allocated a flight for evacuating the Kashmiris on March 31. They also demanded the same from the Government of Goa, but their plea has been turned down.
Raies pleaded, “We would like you to help us so that we can get back to our families sooner. Even after reaching there, we’ll be put into quarantine cells for 14 days. Please understand our situation. Can we not be sent together with the support of Kerela government.” As he further says, “If the airlines start to play normally after this lockdown on 14 April, in that case, we all have our confirmed tickets which can be rescheduled and wouldn’t bother anyone.”
Author Nibedita Sen is a Defence Correspondent turned Fact-checker, now associated with Alt News. Nibedita is awarded by the Government of Goa, two times for her contribution in the field of Media and Journalism.