Agitated migrant workers on Monday clashed with police in Ahmedabad and vandalized police vehicles. Ahmedabad Police claimed to have booked 200 workers and detained them. Clashes between migrant workers and police were earlier reported from Surat and Rajkot.
The workers, demanding to be sent back home, pelted stones at the police, in which two policemen sustained injuries. Following the lathi charge by the police, the workers retreated to Vastrapur and vandalized two police vehicles and the office of a construction site. They also rushed to the IIM company, where they were working, and broke glass panes.
Meanwhile, a local TV journalist Priyanka Sharma, who was caught in the melee and injured, in a facebook post refused to blame the workers or the police. The situation on the ground, she posted, required sensitive handling and cautioned against opinionated media coverage.
This is what she posted:
Today, hundreds of migrant workers came out on the streets to pelt stones on police officers and in response the police officials resorted to lathi charge upon them. . . While I was giving lives and shooting videos, I got caught in the middle of the spat between police personnel and labourers and got hit by police lathis. My leg is swollen and bruised - it hurts to stand; it hurts to sit.
But I wanted to take a moment and express that I don’t blame the police personnel. . The situation on the ground is extremely sensitive and it cannot be gauged from the AC rooms inside ivory towers.
We cannot resort to the blame game of convenience by looking at half-baked information and from the cushioned comfort of our bases. . . These migrants who are villified and demonisedby sections of the society - sometimes by the government, by industrialists and most of the time by civilians and journalists.
Across the country, they are living in sheds, with nothing but broken promises of being given protection. Some are living with no food, no income, no way to gauge what their future would look like. They are completely and entirely vulnerable and dependent on the state machinery.
It's sad to note that when their faces were being bashed in, when I could not look away from the bleeding masks on the ground, some people were still saying, 'In logo ko kuchh samajh hi nahi ata'.
PS: Neither the police nor the migrant labourers should be blamed. These are desperate times. We must stand united and the media must cover facts rather than inflicting opinion