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Home / India News / Migrant workers, police clash in Gujarat’s Surat; 204 held

Migrant workers, police clash in Gujarat’s Surat; 204 held

According a study by the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, migrants contribute about 70% of Surat’s workforce and 50% of Ahmedabad’s.

india Updated: May 05, 2020 03:21 IST
Jaykishan Sharma
Jaykishan Sharma
Hindustan Times, Surat
Policemen lathicharge a migrant worker after a clash erupted between migrant workers and police in Surat on Monday.
Policemen lathicharge a migrant worker after a clash erupted between migrant workers and police in Surat on Monday.(ANI Photo )

Surat: Gujarat police on Monday arrested 204 migrant workers who allegedly stoned policemen, demanding that they be allowed to go home. The workers, mainly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, were charged with rioting and attempt to murder after the fourth incident of violence in Surat in the past 23 days.

The restive crowd torched handcarts on the roads besides hurling stones at the police in the violence that left 15 policemen and around 20 others injured, the police said.

“The incident took place around 11 am in Vareli village in Kadodra police station area. Some people instigated the workers saying that nobody would pay heed to their demand of returning to their homes in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, if they did not gather in large numbers, after which around 1,000 people gathered on the streets, demanding return to their homes,” said S Pandia Raj Kumar, inspector general of police (IGP), Surat range.

The IGP said teams from the local police station reached the spot and tried to convince the migrant workers to disperse after submitting a representation that would be passed on to the district administration.

“The talks were going on but around 11.30 am some elements started pelting stones on policemen. Some of them threw petrol bombs too and damaged public property including shops. To control the situation, the police had to use teargas shells and force,” Kumar said.

Ajay Singh, a resident of Vareli village, said: the administration had been assuring migrant workers for the past one month that transport would be arranged to their home states. “We have run out of cash. We have no money to feed our children,” he said, adding that the workers had not got even been paid pending wages.

SB Singh, general secretary of the Mazdoor Ekta Union, Surat, said the government had started 10 Shramik Special trains to Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Bhopal, Agra and Puri but had failed to counsel workers to be patient.

“The workers are angry as the government has not even tried to reach out to them. Nobody has told them about the process {they have to follow} to go back,” he said, explaining the reason for anger among workers.

According a study by the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, migrants contribute about 70% of Surat’s workforce and 50% of Ahmedabad’s. In Surat, 805 medium and large industries employ about 300,000 migrants, according to data compiled by the district administration.

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