Two days after Nitish Kumar and Yogi Adityanath, the chief ministers of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively, spoke to their counterpart in Gujarat over the ongoing exodus of migrants from Gujarat following a spate of attacks on people from north Indian states, a group of unidentified men in Surat attacked four migrant workers at embroidery factories. According to police, the incident took place on Monday night in Varachha area of the city. Police said that a case of rioting has been filed against unidentified persons, but it appears that the attackers were robbers.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the migrants from Uttar Pradesh were beaten up by seven unidentified persons using sticks and cricket bats. It said that the attackers had also snatched mobile phones of the victims.
On Monday night, police in Ahmedabad city filed two more FIRs and arrested six persons. Police even held a flag march in different parts of the city. The arrested persons include Rahul Thakor who is the convener of social media cell of Thakor Sena headed by Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor.
The IE report said that so far 68 FIRs have been registered by police and over 550 have been taken into custody in connection with the violence that was triggered last week after a migrant from Bihar allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-month-old girl.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor has come under the police scanner after it emerged the activists of his outfit Gujarat Kashtriya Sena were involved in instigating violence against the migrants. However, Thakor has denied the involvement of his group in the violence. On Tuesday, Thakor even said that he will quit politics if charges levelled against him are proved.
“I have never asked anyone to drive away or attack migrants. Also, it is an old video,” Thakor, the in charge Congress’ Bihar unit, said after an allegedly inflammatory video of his speech started doing the rounds on social media. He, however, admitted that there could be some instances where his outfit’s workers were involved. “I am not denying it. They will face punishment. However, that does not mean that the entire organisation is responsible for it. This is a conspiracy to finish me and my organisation. After the fast, I will go to Bihar and instil faith in its people.”
Aplesh who had joined the Congress ahead of the Assembly polls last year and successfully contested the elections said that the allegations are false and are an attempt by the BJP to disrupt the Congress’ plan of forging a grand alliance of opposition parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Playing an emotional card, he said that he going through a difficult time as this comes at a time when his son is suffering from dengue and has been admitted to a hospital in Ahmedabad. He said that people are going back to Bihar because of the Chhath Puja and they will return after the festival.
It has been alleged that Thakor had played a crucial role in instigating violence against the outsides. Videos of his provocative speeches have been doing the rounds on the internet. In one video, he said that it is because of the outsiders, the Gujaratis are jobless today and they are the ones who commit crime.
The BJP on its part has sought the resignation of Thakor and asked the Congress to initiate an enquiry against Thakor. Pointing a finger at Thakor and his outfit, Gujarat Deputy CM Nitin Patel said that everybody knows what is happening and who is doing it.
“One can just meet a migrant who is leaving and ask him. You will get all the answers about who is threatening them. Instead of levelling allegations against us, the Congress party should take action against their MLA,” he said.
The Congress has been blaming the BJP government in the state for the current situation. Party leader PL Punia said that it is the failure of the government and administration in the state. “There is no proper law and order situation in the state. There should be an investigation into the incident immediately. Culprits should be punched,” he said. Defending Thakor, he said: “If there is any evidence against Alpesh Thakor, it should be brought before the law. But blaming someone unnecessarily is wrong.”