"Don't Drive Out Biharis Because Of My Son's Sin," Mother Of Rape Accused Appeals To Gujarat
Addressing media persons on October 11, the rape accused youth’s mother pleaded, “Hang him if he is found guilty for the crime but do not harass and drive out the Biharis because of my son’s sin.” Her son is accused of raping a 14-month-old toddler which reportedly led to widespread violence and attack on workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in Gujarat.
The violence has led to about 60,000 Hindi-speaking migrant workers fleeing the state.
As reported by Hindustan Times, rape accused Ravindra Sahu, who hails from Saran district of Bihar, went to Gujarat with his friends in 2016. He works in a factory there and his family stays at a dilapidated house in Natwar-Kangoi village under the Manjhi block in Bihar.
His father claims that Sahu is mentally unsound and that he would often behave abnormally, further adding that two years back, he fled to Gujarat without informing the family.
Thousands of migrant workers flee Gujarat
After the several attacks and spate of violence across different districts of North Gujarat, as many as 60,000 migrant workers are said to have fled the state. As reported by The Economic Times, the factories have resumed after a three-day shutdown. However, many migrants workers are said to have left for their hometown.
Business and economy are believed to have taken a serious hit given that this time of the year, with many major upcoming festivals, lined up. The workers’ livelihood also seems to be affected as a larger amount of work translates to higher pay.
Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) president Jaimin Vasa said that normalcy is slowly returning, however, many workers continue to be in fear. “The Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit (Janaury 2019), as well as Diwali (in November), is approaching. We have urged the government to work together and re-establish industrial peace in the state,” he further added.
Alpesh Thakor’s inflammatory speech
The Hindu reported that most of the incidents of violence were carried out allegedly by people from the Thakor community. The victim is said to belong from the same community. In one of the videos, which has now gone viral, the Congress MLA, Alpesh Thakor is allegedly making inflammatory statements and attempting to incite violence against the migrant workers.
In this video, he can be seen saying that crime rates in Gujarat have increased because of people coming from other states for work. He further said that factories employing such people would be attacked and their trucks would be stopped.
Later, as reported by News18, he said that he in no way has tried to incite violence against the workers from other states. “We all need to make sure that Gujarat’s image does not get tarnished. No one is migrant… the word itself is wrong. I think some people are politicising the issue. This is an attempt to break the country. Dividing people in the name of states is something I or my people will never do,” he said.
“Will bring law to ensure 80% reservation for Gujaratis”
On September 25, Vijay Rupani, the Chief Minister of Gujarat had said that he will bring a law to ensure that there is 80% reservation for Gujaratis in the state ’s industries. As reported by The Indian Express, he said, “Those who set up business in Gujarat, including the service sector, will have to ensure that 80 per cent of the jobs is given to Gujaratis. The state government is in the process of making such a law.”
He also added that he will ensure that 25% of those hired are from the region where the industry is set.