Mamata promises 200 days of work a year to migrant workers returning to Bengal
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Mamata promises 200 days of work a year to migrant workers returning to Bengal

The Bengal chief minister said she has already instructed district magistrates to guarantee a minimum of 100 days work for workers returning to Bengal from other states.

kolkata Updated: Dec 12, 2017 16:00 IST
Bengal,Rajasthan,Mamata Banerjee
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said if workers from Bengal in other states feel persecuted and want to return, they are welcome.(HT Photo)

She won’t tolerate attacks on workers from Bengal who might have migrated to other states in search of work, and if they feel persecuted and want to return, her government can even given them work for 200 days a year, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday.

Her comments at a public meeting came five days after Afrajul Khan, 49, a construction worker from Malda, was brutally killed by a youth Sambhu Lal Regar and his body set ablaze in Rajasthan in an act of hate crime. The video of Khan being continuously hit despite begging for his life, and finally his body being set on fire went viral and shocked the nation.

Khan has been working in Rajasthan for the past 20 years. His two sons-in-law also used to live with him and work there.

“Those who have gone elsewhere to work and are feeling scared are welcome to come back. I shall guarantee work for them. If necessary, I will ensure work for 200 days (a year). I have instructed all the district magistrates to guarantee a minimum of 100 days of job for migrant workers coming back,” Mamata Banerjee said while addressing a rally at Kotshila in tribal-dominated Purulia district in western Bengal.

Incidentally, the state government has announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh for the family of Khan and a government job for a member.

The director general of Bengal police also spoke to his Rajasthan counterpart and requested him to ensure the safety of the workers from Bengal who have migrated to that state in search of work.

The incident in Rajasthan triggered shock across Bengal with all political parties with the exception of BJP organising rallies to protest the crime. 

On Tuesday the Bengal chief minister also cautioned against possible retaliation against people from other states staying in West Bengal. “Please do not forget that people from other states, who are staying here, consider Bengal as their own state. We should not torture them in retaliation,” she remarked.

In her speech, Mamata Banerjee also lashed out at BJP and said that in the states such as Rajasthan and Gujarat ruled by the saffron party, Muslims are not the only ones facing attack. “Besides Muslims, they are also targeting the Christians, dalits and tribal people. But such incidents don’t take place here and everyone is secured in Bengal,” she claimed.

In Tuesday’s speech, the chief minister also claimed that her government has carried out a lot of development work in Purulia district that was once dominated by Maoists. “Peace has returned to the district,” she said.

She also claimed that though there are similarities between Purulia and neighbouring Jharkhand that is also dominated by tribal people, the district of Bengal was far more developed.

First Published: Dec 12, 2017 16:00 IST