SRINAGAR: The fear and panic triggered by the Nepal earthquake could also be felt in Kashmir with the Nepali nationals working in the valley and the families of local businessmen worried about the safety of their dear ones in the Himalayan country.

According to some estimates, nearly 2000 Nepali youth, most of them daily wage earners, are working in Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, nearly 200 Kashmiris are also working in Nepal mostly with associated with handicrafts.

Over 300 Nepali youth working in J&K are from Saptari district on the Nepal-India border. Grief was palpable on the faces of Nepali natives as soon as they heard about the earthquake in their country.

“We are anxiously waiting for any news from my family in Satpari district. We are not been able to contact them,” said Nandesh, a daily wager working in Srinagar.

He said the government of Nepal didn’t issue any official list of casualties and those injured in the quake.

“We are worried and are now planning to go back to our native place to support our people,” visually depressed Nandesh said.

President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) Aashiq Hussain told Rising Kashmir that there were nearly 200 Kashmiri businessmen working in Nepal.

“We are in a state of shock. Our business fraternity had established a full-fledged handicraft base in Kathmandu. We are concerned about them. Government should take necessary steps to locate Kashmiri traders and facilitate their safe return,” he said,

Hurriyat (M) spokesperson, Shahid-ul-Islam said he couldn’t contact his brother, Javid Ahmad Shah in Nepal. “My brother is residing in Kathmandu from past many years and since the earthquake hit the country, his cell phone is switched off. We are worried about him,” he said.

Mann Bahadur, a salesman at a shop in Jawahar Nagar, couldn’t stop crying after he heard about the earthquake. “My people are in a deep pain right now, they are dying. How can I be at peace far away from them,” he said.

27-year-old Bahadur, who has been living in Kashmir since his childhood said he couldn’t contact his family.

Many Nepali youth visit Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh as seasonal migrants to work as salesmen and labors. Many of them are engaged with fruit industry to pluck apple and other fruits. Many hotels and corporate offices have also employed Nepali workers.

“We urge the government to help us reach Nepal immediately so that we can see our family and support them,” said Kashav, a cook at a local hotel.

(Rising Kashmir)