300 booked, 5 held for ‘rioting’ in Surat
Police said the trouble began around 7 am when police personnel on duty in Thakor Nagar objected to some workers roaming around in a local market.Updated: Apr 29, 2020 00:43 IST
Five people were detained and another 300 booked on Tuesday for alleged rioting and violation of the Covid-19 lockdown after migrant workers clashed with police personnel in Gujarat’s Surat.
Police said the trouble began around 7 am when police personnel on duty in Thakor Nagar objected to some workers roaming around in a local market. “A few labourers were roaming around without any reason. When policemen on patrol asked them to stay indoors and follow the lockdown restrictions, they got angry and started throwing stones. Later, some locals and the stone pelters started arguing with the police,” said inspector H M Chouhan of the Dindoli police station.
Chouhan said an additional police force was rushed to the spot and the dispute was resolved after an hour-long standoff. “However, one head constable identified as Kamlesh Choudhary got injured and a police vehicle was damaged,” Chouhan said.
This is the third violent incident reported from Surat involving migrant workers since the lockdown was imposed last month to check the Covid-19 spread.
On April 11, 81 migrant workers, mostly from Odisha, were arrested in Surat for rioting and violating the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. The workers allegedly resorted to violence after many of them were not paid their salaries for March and also denied permission to return to their homes. Over 90 migrant workers were arrested on March 30 in Surat for attacking police after they were not allowed to return to their native places.
The lockdown left tens of thousands of migrant workers jobless and promoted many of them to return to their homes including on foot from bigger cities. The exodus prompted the Centre to ask the states and Union territories to seal their borders for non-essential travel and look after the stranded migrant workers in relief camps. But many workers have gathered in places like Mumbai and Surat demanding that they be allowed to return to their homes even as the Centre has allowed gradual restart of the economy outside the Covid-19 hotspots since the lockdown was extended this month until May 3.