Mi­grant work­ers, po­lice clash in Su­rat; 204 held

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - SPOTLIGHT - Jayk­is­han Sharma Jayk­is­han.sharma@htlive.com

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 Man­age­men­tAhmed­abad, 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.


Po­lice­men lath­icharge a mi­grant worker af­ter a clash erupted be­tween mi­grant work­ers and po­lice in Su­rat on Mon­day.

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