Cong engineering attacks on migrants to discredit Gujarat govt: Rupani
09 October 2018
The BJP has blamed the Congress for inciting violence against migrant workers in a bid to reduce BJP’s support base in the north, as part of its vote bank politics. Chief minister Vijay Rupani has appealed to migrant workers to return to work and has offered them protection from the attackers.
The attack on migrant workers in Gujarat following the rape of an infant has rapidly acquired political overtones with Congress leader Alpesh Thakor being accused of inciting the locals against the migrants.
The Congress has held the state government responsible for the attacks that took place over five districts, pushing hundreds of migrant workers to move out of the state.
Without naming the Congress, Gujarat home minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja has said efforts are on to find out whether "it is a conspiracy by those who are out of power in Gujarat since the last 22 years".
A video has also surfaced in which the 42-year-old Thakor, who won his maiden election last year, is seen talking of "revenge" - shutting factories and declaring what he called "halla bol". His group - the Kshatriya Thakore Sena - has been accused of leading the attacks.
"A 14-month-old has been raped by an outsider. This crime cannot be tolerated... We have demanded hand over the accused to us and we will punish him," Thakor is heard saying in the video, shot in Ahmedabad the day he visited the hospital where the child is recuperating.
"If the police don't take action, we will take revenge. We will decide on whether to let outsiders stay here or not. We will stop the factories where these people work. We told their owners but so far there has been no action. We have declared halla bol and we will shut the factory," said Alpesh Thakor.
The child was raped in Sabarkantha district on 28 September, and the man responsible for the dastardly act was arrested. Violence targeting migrant workers, however, started after a time lag and has spread to six districts - Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Patan, Sabarkantha and Mehsana – over the last few days.
Senior Congress leader from the state, Ahmed Patel, defended Thakore and said the BJP was trying to politicise the issue.
"I think he (the state home minister) was trying to politicise the issue. The way he was saying it, I wonder if there was a conspiracy behind what is happening" Patel, a Rajya Sabha member from the state, was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India. Alpesh Thakor, he said, has clearly denied his role in these attacks on migrant workers
Chief minister Vijay Rupani has appealed to the migrants to return, assuring them that there is adequate security and no untoward incident has taken place in the last 48 hours. "We are committed to maintaining law and order, and people can call police in case of trouble. We will provide them security." he told reporters in Rajkot.
Amidst calls by the Kshatriya Thakor Samaj for capital punishment for the migrant worker from Bihar accused of allegedly raping a 14-month-old girl and attacks on migrant workers, at least one camp set up by the Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad, a social welfare trust, is sheltering some migrant workers from UP, MP and Bihar.
“Temporary arrangements have been made for their stay till the situation is under control. We don’t want to disclose these locations. A careful recce was conducted before shortlisting these areas,” says Shyam Singh Thakur, who heads the Parishad.
By Monday, the men from UP, in the age group of 18-28, had settled down on the terrace of the farm house. “This is the safest place for them. This village is part of the Vatva assembly constituency of Gujarat’s MoS for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja, so there will be no breach in law and order. Also, the public here is educated and there have been regular meetings between residents, police and our organisation members,” says Deepak Dubey, a Parishad member.