UP, Bihar migrants flee Gujarat after violent protest over rape of 14-month old
Over 200 people have been arrested for rioting and targeting the property of Hindi-speaking migrant workers from Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Mehsana and Sabarkantha district
The rape of a toddler by a migrant worker from Bihar provided the spark which set off a chain reaction of retaliatory violence in central and north Gujarat towns where industries have employed large number of cheap contract labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in preference to the locals.
Hundreds of migrant workers have already left for their home states following attacks and threats from the local residents. Most of the migrant labourers lived in villages close to the industries they were employed in following threats issued by the local village leaders.
Looking at the gravity of the situation, the state police chief Shivanand Jha ordered deployment of armed police around industrial units in as many as six districts.
Over 200 people have been arrested for rioting and targeting the property of Hindi-speaking migrant workers from Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Mehsana and Sabarkantha district.
“A large number of innocent people have been arrested by the police. I demand their immediate release,” said Alpesh Thakor, MLA and president of Thakor Sena, an outfit claiming a membership of over 100,000.
Thakor Sena has been on the forefront of the protest demonstrations against the rape of a 14-month-old girl by a Bihari migrant worker of Sabarkantha district.
Alpesh has condemned the attack on the Hindi-speaking people saying, “Thakor Sena believes in peace and harmony and has not directed any of its members to indulge in violence.”
Howevever, he said the people of Gujarat were seething with anger at being denied employment by private industries. He said though the industries had promised to employ 80 per cent of their workforce locally, no industry has followed this.
Meanwhile, motorcycle-riding youth have been moving around in the industrial areas of Ahmedabad and Mehsana raising provocative slogans against migrant workers. The social media too is abuzz with provocative videos and messages spewing venom at the ‘outsiders’. Tracing the originator of such provocative messages on social media, the cyber crime cell of the state police has filed cases against two persons.
Scores of migrant workers living in pre-dominantly labour localities of Ahmedabad have locked up their houses and left either for their home states or shifted to ‘safer’ homes of their friends and relations.
The situation in and around the industrial clusters of central and north Gujarat seems to remind one of the violence against candidates from Bihar and UP who were prevented from entering Mumbai for taking examination for railway jobs in 2014.
Meanwhile, Chief minister Vijay Rupani has reiterated the government’s resolve to guarantee jobs to the locals in industries that are set up in the state.