Industries hit as UP, Bihar migrants flee Gujarat after hate attacks

-The Times of India

AHMEDABAD/ VADODARA: Angry at the rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district of north Gujarat on September 28, hate crimes targeting Hindi-speaking people have now spread to central parts of the state. Eight contractual workers were allegedly attacked at the ‘Bal Amul’ plant near Anand late on Sunday night.

With the situation worsening, chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar called up their Gujarat counterpart Vijay Rupani on Monday to express concern.

Fifty-six cases of attacks on migrants, mainly from UP and Bihar, have so far been registered across Gujarat and 431 arrested for it. The incidents have mainly occurred in Himmatnagar, where the rape was committed, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, and Ahmedabad. Now Vadodara, Anand and Panchmahals, which have a sizeable population of the Thakor community, have been singed too. The little girl who was violated is a Thakor by caste.

In Ahmedabad, over 100 migrants fled for their lives after a godown near Kabir temple in Vastral was set afire late on Sunday night. Eight persons have been nabbed for posting hate messages against “outsiders”. Mahipatsinh Rajawat, a tour operator who runs buses between Gujarat, UP and MP, said that “at least 25,000 migrants have left Ahmedabad alone in the past two days”.

The exodus of migrant workers has industrial units on tenterhooks as they are heavily dependent on labourers from outside Gujarat. This has resulted in production losses of 20% ahead of the festive season. “Over 12,000 labourers from states such as Bihar and UP, employed in North Gujarat, have left for their home states,” said Ajit Shah, president, Sanand Industries Association (SIA). Just Sanand has seen 4,000 migrant workers leave the state in the past few days.

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The Times of India, 9 October, 2018,

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