Gujarat govt: Exodus of migrant workers falling

Gujarat govt: Exodus of migrant workers falling
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The number of Hindispeaking migrant workers leaving Gujarat has come down after they were reassured about their safety in the state, officials and industry body representatives said on Wednesday

Ahmedabad: The number of Hindi-speaking migrant workers leaving Gujarat has come down after they were reassured about their safety in the state, officials and industry body representatives said on Wednesday.

Compared to the past few days, no long queues for north-bound trains were seen at major railway stations.

Police and district officials held meetings with migrant workers and factory owners at several places and told them that they need not worry about their safety.

Since the alleged rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat on September 28 and the arrest of a labourer hailing from Bihar in the case, six districts, most of them in north Gujarat, have witnessed incidents of violence against Hindi-speaking migrant workers.

Former president of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industries Shailesh Patwari held a meeting with around 200 migrant workers at Naroda industrial area of Ahmedabad Wednesday.

“We told workers to join work without any fear and also ask their friends who have left to return,” he said. Deputy Commissioner of Police Neeraj Badgujar said many migrant workers returned to factories in Naroda area Wednesday. “We told them that we are always alert to protect them. We are conducting flag marches (in areas where migrant workers were attacked) and police have been deployed... We have conducted more than 250 mohalla meetings (meeting with residents of a respective locality), asking people not to heed to rumours,” he said.

Avdhesh Tiwari, a factory worker from Uttar Pradesh, said he has been living in Ahmedabad for 10 years, and never felt so scared as in the past few days. “At one point I felt like leaving for home with my friends who have already gone back. But our factory owner and police officers asked us to stay back. The situation is normal and there is nothing to fear now,” Tiwari told reporters. Shyam Singh Thakur, president of the Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad, an organisation representing North Indian migrants, said it is holding meetings with workers and persuading those who have left to come back.

More than 60,000 Hindi-speaking people left for their home states mainly because of the rumours on social media that they will be attacked if they did not leave Gujarat by October 8, he said. “We are trying to persuade those who left to come back before Diwali as Diwali is the time when they get extra money and bonus,” he said. Collectors of Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Anand districts visited railway stations and talked to people from North India who were leaving for home.

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