Migrant workers wait for their train at Ahmedabad Railway Station.

Thousands of Migrant Workers Leave Gujarat After Attacks, 431 Held

Around 5,000 workers have exited Gujarat in the wake of the violence and have gone back to their native states, Shailesh Patwari, President of Gujarat Chambers of Commerce and Industry told The Quint.

However, in a telephonic conversation with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Vijay Rupani has categorically denied any attacks on migrant workers, reported ANI, quoting CM Adityanath.

Following the alleged rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district on September 28, six districts, most of them in north Gujarat, have witnessed sporadic incidents of violence against Hindi-speaking people.

Attacks on migrant workers in Gujarat continue unabated even after the Director General of Police said that security has been beefed up in areas where north Indian labourers live and work.

In a fresh incident, 15 workers were attacked at Waghodia industrial estate at the outskirts of Vadodara city on Sunday, 7 October. The workers were employed at Campus Fastener and Param Engineers in Waghodia and lived without families in Vadodara.

Situation Under Control in Gujarat, Says CM

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that the situation in his state is under control and that people should not panic as the state will provide protection to everyone.

“No incident has been reported in the last 48 hours. I appeal to the people of Gujarat to maintain peace. The person who has raped the child has been arrested within 24 hours of the incident. The government has written to high court for taking the case to a fast-track court to ensure the culprits are punished at the earliest. Those taking law into their hands will be punished.”
Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister, Gujarat

CM Yogi Denies Attacks, Says Jealousy at Play

Refuting reports of attacks on workers, for which the state has already made 431 arrests, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that people who are jealous of Gujarat’s development are spreading “rumours”.

Gujarat CM has clearly told me that no such incident has taken place in last 3 days. People who are jealous of development in Gujarat are spreading such rumours. Effective steps have been taken by the Gujarat government.
Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh

Adityanath added that Gujarat is a peace loving state and a model of development.

"Some north Indians living there had called me and I have told them also not to pay heed to the rumours,” the chief minister said.

Ten workers were severely injured and were admitted to SSG Hospital in Vadodara. The attackers came from Kamrol and Kotambi village and attacked the north Indian workers with sticks and stones; of the 17 attackers, 16 have been arrested.

The accused were booked under various IPC sections, including 147 (rioting) and 143 (unlawful assembly), police said.

Indian National Congress upped the ante against the state government in Gujarat amid attacks on workers of UP and Bihar and said that such treatment should not be meted out to innocent people.

Tejashwi Yadav, Leader of the opposition in Bihar, said that the attacks are a big conspiracy to keep people from Bihar unemployed.

"A few days back, Gujarat CM gave a statement that 80 percent of jobs in factories will be reserved for people of Gujarat. People from Bihar who are living in different states across the country are being attacked everywhere. What has Bihar CM done to stop it?Whether it’s Gujarat or Bihar, we as Indians can go anywhere in country to earn livelihood,” Tejashwi said.

“Innocent people should not be treated like this, they are also Indians. If this starts in a region, then it will happen in another region too. Mumbai is an example. If someone commits a crime, then law should take its course,” said Ahmed Patel, senior Congress leader in Gujarat.

5,000 Workers Leave Gujarat

“Gujarat has a population of over 6 crore, of which around one crore are migrant labourers from UP, Bihar and other states. Yes there were some violent incidents reported till last Friday but according to our estimates, around 5,000 workers have returned to back to their native states.
Shailesh Patwari, President of Gujarat Chambers of Commerce and Industry

Patwari added that the state machinery and Gujarat government is doing everything in their capacity to assure safety of the migrant workers and the industrial establishments.

“Things are gradually being controlled,” he said.

However, there seems to be no clarity on the exact number of migrant workers who have left Gujarat in the wake of the attacks, with reported figures varying between 5,000 and 50,000.

“I spoke to the Gujarat CM yesterday. We’re in touch with them. They are monitoring the situation. Those who have committed a crime should be punished but no bias should be harboured for others.”
Nitish Kumar. Chief Minister, Bihar

431 Arrested, 56 Cases Lodged

In a press conference held at Police Bhavan in Gandhinagar, The Director General of Police, Shivanand Jha said that 17 companies of State Reserve Police (SRP) have been deployed in the affected areas.

(Photo: Rahul Nair/The Quint)
DGP of Gujarat Shivanand Jha holds a press conference in Gandhinagar on Sunday.
“Security of areas inhabited by non-Gujaratis and the factories where they work has been increased. Police have also increased patrolling in these areas. Six districts were hit by incidents of violence and 431 persons have been arrested and 56 cases have been filed so far. Two cases have been lodged for spreading rumours on social media which led to violence.”
Shivanand Jha, DGP Gujarat

Police officials in Gandhinagar, the worst-affected district, have been directed to organise camps and communicate with local leaders to convince the people to stay, he said. Additional forces and vehicles are being provided in districts which have asked for them to ensure safety of the non-Gujarati residents, he added.

“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 government regarding every incident.”
Pradipsinh Jadeja, Minister of State for Home, Gujarat

Jadeja further added, “We have lodged 35 FIRs. In the last 24 hours, the number of attacks has decreased. We appeal to people to not be frightened as we are taking appropriate actions .”

Alpesh Thakor Plans to Go on Indefinite Fast

Congress MLA and leader of OBC Ekta Manch, Alpesh Thakor has claimed that his supporters belonging to the Thakor community have been picked up by the police on false charges. He went on the offensive against the BJP and said that since the rape case was registered and a Bihari worker was arrested, workers of the saffron party spread viral messages on social media asking Gujaratis to take up arms against non-Gujaratis.

(Photo: Rahul Nair/The Quint)
Alpesh Thakor waves proof during the press conference held on Sunday claiming that viral messages inciting mobs were spread by the BJP
“I will sit on a fast on an indefinite Sadbhavana Fast on 11 October till false cases lodged against the Thakor community are not withdrawn. BJP workers have sent out messages and put out their numbers on social media, urging people to drive out north Indians. And the police is arresting our people. Those politicians sitting in north India need to be told clearly that Gujarat is a lot safer than their own states, that is why people come here to work.”
Alpesh Thakor, Congress MLA

Refuting the claims that wrong people have been arrested, DGP Jha said, “We do not arrest people without proof. We have conducted through investigations after which the arrests were made. If we do not have proof against a person and arrest them, the case will dropped and we will have to answer the judiciary.”

(With inputs from PTI)