As 50,000 Migrants Flee Gujarat After Rape Backlash, Sanjay Nirupam Warns ‘Even Narendra Modi Will Come to Banaras’

The rape incident has enraged the locals, who have been targeting people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Police has so far registered 19 cases against mobs for attacking migrants and 180 persons have been arrested.

Tension has gripped Gujarat ever since the alleged rape of a 14-month-old girl by a Bihar native, forcing over 50,000 migrants from North India to leave the state amid the spate of violence. The ‘exodus’ of people has kicked off a storm in the political circle with Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam reminding Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he too will have to visit Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi to seek votes.

“North Indians are being targeted in prime minister’s Gujarat. But he must remember that one day he too will have to go to Banaras to seek votes,” Nirupam said. The Congress leader made the statement in the backdrop of general elections next year, ahead of which PM Modi will make trips to the north Indian city as he represents it in Lok Sabha.

The rape incident has enraged the locals, who have been targeting people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Gujarat Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja said that they have lodged 35 FIRs so far. “In the last 24 hours, the number of attacks has decreased. We appeal to people to not be frightened as we are taking appropriate actions,” he assured.

On Sunday night, five workers of a factory in Waghodia area in the suburbs of Vadodara city were attacked by local residents. While the victims have received minor injuries, police have apprehended 16 people

In Sautrashtra’s Kodinar town of Gir Somnath, locals forced their way into a factory and asked the unit to shut down. There have been a couple of instances reported in Halol and Chandlodia as well, but no one was reported to be injured in these attacks.

The violence has triggered fear among migrants, particularly in GIDC estates and industrial belts of the state though the situation appears under control in urban pockets like Ahmedabad.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday asked his counterpart in Gujarat to take measures to prevent attack, following which Jadeja said that the state government is in touch with the central government and has submitted a report to it regarding each incident. “It is our responsibility to provide security to those who come to Gujarat for employment from other states,” he said.

The Mumbai Mirror quoted President of Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad (an umbrella body of migrant workers), Shyamsinh Thakur as saying that they received 700 distress calls on Sunday alone.

“Till now, more than 50,000 North Indians, mostly from UP and Bihar, have gone back from Gujarat fearing escalation of rage towards them. Situation in bad in GIDC and industrial belts though the situation in big cities like Ahmedabad seems under control,” he was quoted as saying.

Thakur said the labourers that have already left are not likely to return for three months which will hit businesses and industries of Gujarat. “At Mehsana GIDC, about 70% of the labourers have left,” he said.

Meanwhile, Director General of Police Shivanand Jha has refused to term the situation as ‘exodus’ as he said that the UP-Bihar natives are leaving the state for the upcoming festive season.

“If people are leaving for home for a festival, it should not be seen otherwise. I have told my officers to visit residential areas, and if required, visit bus stands and railway stations and if people are found leaving due to fear, (then to) persuade them to come back,” he said.

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