Congress MLA from Gujarat Alpesh Thakor who has come under the scanner of police for allegedly inciting violence against migrants from north Indian states, is today observing a ‘Sadhbhavana Upvas’ (goodwill fast) to promote peace and harmony. Speaking to news agency ANI, Thakor said that the charges against him are baseless and attempts are being made the malign the image of his state.
“I am doing ‘Sadbhavna Upvas’ because the image of my Gujarat is being maligned. There is no place for violence in Gujarat,” he said.
Defending himself against charges of instigating violence, Thakor said that nobody was attacked and said that ‘environment has been vitiated due to social media’.
“We neither support regionalism nor will take it forward,” Thakor who represents Radhanpur seat in the Gujarat Assembly said.
Thakor has come under attack from the ruling BJP for allegedly inciting violence against outsiders in the state. Several districts are still in the grip of tension after activists from the Thakor Sena, an outfit headed by Alpesh Thakor, attacked migrants from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and threatened them to go back. As of now, thousands of migrant workers from Gujarat have returned to their native states.
The violence was triggered after a migrant from Bihar allegedly raped a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district of the state. So far, police have filed more than 65 FIRs and arrested over 500 people in connection with the violence that followed this incident.
Alpesh has come under the police scanner after some clips of a provocative speech he purportedly made started doing the rounds on internet. “These people who have come from outside, commit crime, they beat up locals and go back,” he said in a video.
Blaming the migrants workers for the rising unemployment in the state, he said, “Such people have jobs here but our people do not have jobs here.”
However, when Alpesh was asked about the clips, he clarified that these clips are old and blamed the BJP for trying to defame him and the Congress party in a bid to upset the efforts of Rahul Gandhi to bring opposition parties together in the run-up to the general elections next year.