The Gujarat Police said on Friday that they have arrested at least 150 people in the past week, following incidents of violence against migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. People from these states were targeted in some areas of Gujarat after a native of Bihar was arrested for allegedly raping a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district on September 28.

Director General of Police Shivanand Jha said such attacks have taken place in Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Patan and Ahmedabad districts in the past week, PTI reported. He said the attacks started after hate messages against migrants began circulating on social media.

As many as 18 first information reports have been filed in several districts of Gujarat after the attacks, Jha said. “We have also arrested 150 persons,” he added. “We will not allow such activities at any cost. We have instructed local police to increase vigil at factories and (housing) societies having a good number of non-Gujaratis. We are also keeping a watch on social media messages.”

The Kshatriya Thakor Sena has said that migrant workers from other states should not be given jobs in Gujarat. A mob of 200 people allegedly led by Sena members entered a factory on October 2 and beat up two employees. Subsequently, 20 people were arrested.

Thakor Sena members also allegedly threatened several panipuri vendors in Mehsana district. On October 3, a mob allegedly comprising Thakor community members vandalised Chandlodia area of Ahmedabad, demanding that people from North India leave the city. At least 10 people were arrested, Sola Police Inspector DG Gadhvi said.

Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor, who heads the Kshatriya Thakor Sena, has appealed to his community and members of his organisation not to attack people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. “Non-Gujaratis are not on our target,” Thakor told the media. “I have called a meeting of all the office-bearers of the Thakor Sena to discuss this issue. Non-Gujaratis are our brothers and protecting them is also our responsibility. I will ask the Thakor Sena to stop such attacks.”