31 July, 2021

Leave! This Land Isn’t Your Home

An infant’s rape allegedly by a migrant and local rage over joblessness trigger an exodus from Gujarat

Sense Of An Ending
Migrant workers leaving Gujarat.
Photograph by PTI
Leave! This Land Isn’t Your Home

Reminiscent of the 2008 att­acks on migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in Maharashtra, rampaging mobs in north and central Gujarat last week targeted labourers from north Indian states, forcing an exodus of sorts. Ostensibly triggered by outrage over the rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district, allegedly by a migrant worker from Bihar, the attacks could be an outcome of pent-up anger against migrants being allegedly favoured over locals for jobs.

The rape was reported on September 28 and the attacks began nearly a week later. The exodus of migrant workers from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattis­garh and UP, fanned by bitter social media outpourings and word-of-mouth stories, began around the time the Election Commission announced election dates in the states bordering Gujarat. Small wonder then that a political slugfest has begun with the ruling BJP accusing the Congress, especially MLA Alpesh Thakore and his Gujarat Kshatriya Thakore Sena (GKTS), of provoking the violence. The Congress, in turn, says the BJP engineered it for political...

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