As many as 50,000 migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have left Gujarat after the arrest of a Bihar man for allegedly raping a 14-month-old girl in the Sabarkantha district last week, according to reports even as the Gujarat home minister has assured that it will provide security to people who come to the state for employment from other states.
The President of Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad (an umbrella body of migrant workers), Shyamsinh Thakur, told Ahmedabad Mirror, “We got 700 distress calls on Sunday alone. Till now, more than 50,000 North Indians, mostly from UP and Bihar, have gone back from Gujarat fearing escalation of rage towards them. Situation in bad in GIDC and industrial belts though the situation in big cities like Ahmedabad seems under control.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Monday, “I spoke to the Gujarat chief minister yesterday. We’re in touch with them. They’re monitoring situation. Those who’ve committed a crime should be punished but no bias should be harboured for others.”
Gujarat Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja said that the state government is acting against people behind the attack on the labourers. He said that the police are interrogating the people who have been arrested for these attacks. Three cases have been registered under the IT Act for spreading hatred on social media. “It is our responsibility to provide security to those who come to Gujarat for employment from other states. We are in touch with the Central government. We have submitted a report to the Central govt regarding every incident,” Pradeepsinh Jadeja said. He also said that 35 FIRs have been lodged and the number of attacks have decreased in the past 24 hours. "We appeal to people to not be frightened as we are taking appropriate actions," Jadeja said.
It is our responsibility to provide security to those who come to Gujarat for employment from other states . We are in touch with the Central govt. We have submitted a report to the central govt regarding every incident: Gujarat Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja pic.twitter.com/LLM7QvguYA— ANI (@ANI) October 8, 2018
“Six districts have mainly been affected (by the violence), with Mehsana and Sabarkantha being the worst hit. In these districts, 42 cases have been lodged and so far, we have arrested 342 accused. More arrests will be made as names of the accused come up during investigation,” Director General of Police Shivanand Jha told reporters.
He said 17 companies of State Reserve Police (SRP) have been deployed in the affected areas. “Security of areas inhabited by non-Gujaratis and the factories where they work has been increased. Police have also increased patrolling in these areas,” he added.
Two cases have been lodged for spreading rumours on social media which led to violence, the DGP said.
“They come to our houses and ask us to leave,” Devendra Rathod, a resident of Ahmedanbad’s Chandlodiya area, told Hindustan Times.
Shyamsinh Thakur, president of Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad, said: “We have received reports that in many parts of Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Sabarkantha and Aravali districts migrants have been asked to leave by October 8. We have asked them to contact the local police.”
“We have never before experienced such threats in Gujarat. We fear that if this escalates, it may sow the seeds of regional divide,” added Thakur.
The girl, who was raped, belongs to Thakor community. Congress MLA and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor has decided to sit on an indefinite fast from October 8 demanding justice and compensation for the victim.
The state government has already announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the girl’s family. Thakor is demanding that the amount be raised to Rs 5 lakh, the HT report added.
On October 3, a mob allegedly comprising members of the Thakor community engaged in vandalism in Chandlodia area of Ahmedabad, demanding people from north India to leave the city, said the police.Hindi-speaking migrants who have been living in Gujarat for years are fleeing the state fearing violence.
In some cases, landlords have asked them to leave as well, The Indian Express reported.