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Gujarat Exodus: Is it a warning?
Author: Thamanna Abdul Latheef
There have been many reports of attacks on migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and other states coming in from Gujarat. Unfortunately, hundreds of migrant workers employed in many districts of Gujarat have fled. To be precise, police have arrested 342 people in connection with these attacks. No doubt, social media were flooded with hate messages which ended up attacking the migrants in the state.
Hate messages were being circulated over social media leading to attacks on migrants. Police have arrested 342 people in connection with these attacks.
How did it start?
It all began by the end of September when a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat was allegedly raped by a man hailing from Bihar. Even though the accused was arrested, it sparked outrage in the residents who mobilized small mobs to attack unrelated migrant workers. But it didn't end there. Even after the culprit was arrested, the rape and the subsequent messages on the social media triggered violence and mass exodus of migrants to UP, Bihar and MP.
Mehsana and Sabarkantha are the worst-hit districts as the police have registered 42 cases across six districts of Gujarat and arrested 342 persons in connection with attacks. Around six people were arrested by the cyber cell unit.
Why it’s a warning?
It is quite evident that some people with vested interests were spreading hatred against people from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh on social media platforms. According to the officials, the movement of migrants can be caused by various factors. Firstly, they assume that the movement of migrant workers from Gujarat to their native states might not be connected with the attacks on the non-Gujaratis in all cases. Secondly, as the festival season is forthcoming; it has been seen as another reason for migrant workers leaving Gujarat.
Tarring an entire migrant community for a man's crime is an old sport for nativist outfits and this has been done in the past by various states. Many migrants from across India had to leave other states when hate campaigns were carried out by various nativist outfits. Instilling fear in the migrant workers not only affect the economic growth of the country as they contribute much to the GDP but also creates an unfriendly atmosphere to visit the particular state. It also reflects how this issue has been politicized in the name of religion, caste, class, community etc by various political and religious outfits in and outside Gujarat. Treating whole migrant community for a person’s sin isn’t justifiable. The government should take up steps to prevent the crimes rather than allowing any community to treat another community impertinently.