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Migrants in Gujarat demand passage back home, resort to arson

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 11, 2020

Hundreds of migrant workers took to the streets in Gujarat on Friday night demanding salaries and asking for safe passage back to their homes, according to media reports.

More than 1,000 persons had assembled on the street in Surat, Gujarat breaching lockdown rules demanding to return to their home States, the Hindu reported.

The workers resorted to arson, torching vegetable carts. They also vandalised properties and shops in Lasanaka area, Surat’s migrant hub.

According to the report, a majority of the workers who took to the street work in powerlooms textiles factories. These factories are currently shut owing to the 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The workers took to arson and vandalizing property as they turned restless to go back to their natives in Odisha, the report said.

Migrant workers had gathered on the streets shouting for food and salaries by the time the police arrived at the scene. Their primary demand was to be sent back home to their native places. The police have detained about 70 people following the incident and is investigating the matter, the Quint reported.

This is the second incident where migrants took to streets and turned violent owing to their restlessness about the current situation. The police had booked 95 migrant workers earlier for rioting and inciting violence including damaging police vehicles, according to the Hindu report.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it does not plan to interfere in the government’s policy decisions related to the healthcare and management of migrant workers during the pandemic, LiveLaw reported. The statement was in response to a PIL filed in the court seeking immediate payment of basic minimum wages to migrant workers, the report said. Further hearing on the PIL is scheduled for April 13.

Gujarat has reported over 300 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the State with the death toll on Friday reaching 19, according to the Union Health Ministry.

Published on April 11, 2020

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