New Delhi: The incidents of sporadic violence against migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in Gujarat, followed by mass exodus by thousands of them has led to a crisis situation in the state.
The attacks over non-Gujarati speaking migrant workers have intensified in the state following the arrest of a native of Bihar over the rape of a 14-year-old by him. Also, the migrants allege that they have been threatened to leave the state or face consequences.
However, the state government claims that the incidents of violence have decreased in the last two days. Assuring security to migrants, it said 431 people were arrested and 56 FIRs registered in connection with the attacks.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani appealed to people not to engage in violence.
Claiming that no untoward incident had taken place during the last 48 hours, Rupani said the situation has been brought under control by police.
“We are committed to maintaining law and order, and people can call police in case of trouble. We will provide them security.” he told reporters in Rajkot.
Since 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.
Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad president Maheshsingh Kushwah claimed over 20,000 people belonging to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar have already fled Gujarat due to the prevailing situation. However, reports suggest that the number of migrants fleeing the state could be as high as 50,000.
On Monday, hundreds of non-Gujaratis left the state for their native states, which police claimed is usual at this time of holiday season. The impact of their flight is visible in the industrial areas of Gujarat, with the industry bodies seeking state government’s intervention to normalise the situation.
Earlier on Monday, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally and union minister Ram Vilas Paswan spoke to Rupani and voiced their concerns.
War of Words Between BJP And Opposition
The Congress has blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani for the attacks and violence on migrant workers in Gujarat and said they should quit if they are unable to carry out their responsibilities.
The opposition party also trained its guns on Modi, saying how he would go to Varanasi and face the people of the state who made him the prime minister, after attacks on migrant labour from UP in Gujarat, a state of which he was the chief minister for long.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi held the targeting of migrant workers in Gujarat as “completely wrong”.
Taking to Twitter, he claimed the root cause of violence in Gujarat was the closure of factories and unemployment in the state.
“There is nothing more frightening than poverty. The root cause of the violence in Gujarat is the closed down factories and unemployment there. Both the system and that economy are reeling.
“Making migrant labour their target is completely wrong. I stand totally against it,” he said in Hindi on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati also targeted PM Modi over the incidents of violence against migrant workers in the latter’s home state and demanded action against culprits.
“It is sad that people who voted and made Modi ji win from Varanasi are being targeted in Gujarat. The BJP government in Gujarat should ensure that strict action is taken against those responsible for such attacks,” she said.
On the other hand, Gujarat Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja said that efforts were on to find out whether the attacks were a “conspiracy by those who are out of power in Gujarat since the last 22 years”, hinting at Congress.
Neeraj Kumar, Janata Dal (United) Member of Legislative Council (MLC) sent a two-page open letter to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, blaming his party for the violence against Biharis.
“You appointed your Gujarat MLA Alpesh Thakor as one of the national secretaries in-charge of Bihar and his outfit Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena is driving out migrant Biharis,” Kumar alleged in the letter.