Hundreds of migrant workers in Gujarat’s Surat city late on Friday came out on roads demanding salaries and transportation arrangements to go back to their hometowns over fears of extension of the 21-day lockdown, ANI reported. Surat is the hub of migrant workers in the state and most of them are employed in textiles, power looms and construction sites.
Rakesh Barot, deputy commissioner of police in Surat, said the workers restored to violence. “Workers blocked road and pelted stones,” he added. “Police reached the spot and detained 60 to 70 people. We have come to know that they were demanding to go back home.”
Police said the workers also set vegetable carts on fire and vandalised properties and shops along the road in Lasanaka area, a migrant hub in the city.
“There are 31 messes running in the labour colonies and several non governmental organisations are also providing food,” Surat Police Commissioner RB Brahmbhatt told The Indian Express. “Their only demand was they wanted to go back to their homes. We have controlled the situation and police staff has been deployed. Police vehicles were also damaged in the incident.”
Most of the migrant workers belong to Odisha but the state government had on Thursday extended lockdown till April 30. “These labourers are worried about their families in Orissa, so they wanted to return home,” Federation of Gujarat Weavers’ Association President Ashok Jirawala said.
Last month, the police had booked 95 migrant workers in Surat for violence and rioting for defying the lockdown. They had even fired 30 tear gas shells to control the situation and disperse the labourers after they threw stones at them.