Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Monday urged people not to engage in violence even as several migrant workers have fled the state after they were targeted, PTI reported.
Rupani said no incidents of violence have been reported in the last 48 hours. State Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja said additional forces have been deployed in industrial areas for the security of migrant workers.
Workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have been 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. Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad President Maheshsingh Kushwah claimed that more than 20,000 people from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar have already fled the state.
Rupani said the state government was committed to maintaining law and order. “And people can call police in case of trouble, we will provide them security,” he said in Rajkot.
Jadeja said the state government has informed the Centre about the steps taken to control the situation. The minister said efforts were on to find out whether “it is a conspiracy by those who are out of power in Gujarat since the last 22 years”, an apparent reference to the Congress.
“The attack on migrant workers is highly condemnable,” Jadeja said. “I also appeal people not to be misled by those who are inciting people for their political gains.” Jadeja said police patrolling will be increased in industrial areas.
The state government said at least 431 people have been arrested in connection with the violence against migrants. Several members of the Kshatriya Thakor Sena have been arrested. The outfit’s president and Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor has alleged that youth from the community are being falsely implicated.
Responding to Thakor’s allegations, Jadeja said the police would take action against anyone who disturbs peace. “Police is not harassing any innocent person from a community,” he added.
Congress MP Ahmed Patel warned that such violence may spread to other regions as well. “Innocent people should not be treated like this, they are also Indians,” he told ANI. “If this starts in a region, then it will happen in another region too; Mumbai is an example.”
Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam condemned the rape incident but said an entire community should not be defamed for one person’s crime. He said it must be remembered that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to contest election from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Modi represents Varanasi in the Lok Sabha.
UP, Bihar chief ministers speak with Rupani
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh chief ministers Nitish Kumar and Adityanath have spoken to Vijay Rupani, expressing concern about the attacks.
Kumar said the guilty must be punished but an entire community should not be “tarred with the same brush”, PTI reported. “On account of one incident, people should not generalise and hold a grouse against an entire state,” he said.
“Gujarat CM has clearly told me that no such incident has taken place in last three days,” Adityanath told ANI. “People who are jealous of development in Gujarat are spreading such rumours. Effective steps have been taken by Gujarat government.”
Meanwhile, Janata Dal (United) leader Neeraj Kumar blamed the Congress for the violence against people from Bihar. “You appointed your Gujarat MLA Alpesh Thakor as one of the national secretaries in-charge of Bihar and his outfit Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena is driving out migrant Biharis,” Kumar said in a letter to Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
Congress leader Prem Chand Mishra said instead of writing a letter to Gandhi, Kumar should speak to Nitish Kumar, who runs a government in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.