Gujarat: 14-month-old's rape sets off attacks on UP, Bihar migrants
The rape of a 14-month-old, allegedly by a Bihari migrant in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat last week, has set off revenge attacks on migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, reports IE. The protests against the migrants started on Wednesday and have been continuing unabated since. Till now 180 people have been arrested across five districts of Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Patan, Sabarkantha and Mehsana. Here's more.
After arrest of rape accused, protests against migrants gained momentum
On September 28, the 14-month-old was raped. She is reportedly stable and undergoing treatment at Ahmedabad's Civil Hospital. The accused, identified as Ravindra Sahu, hails from Bihar and worked as a laborer at a factory. After his arrest, protests against migrants kicked off with heavy police being deployed in sensitive areas. Police held meetings with politicians, village heads, and businessmen to pacify protesters.
Attacks forced some migrants to flee, some are scared
According to IE, Kedarnath Angrehi, a UP-migrant who drove an auto has not returned home. Neighbors believe he and his brother Manish went to their village. Another migrant, Ramsevak Kushwah, who moved from Gwalior to Ahmedabad said windows and doors of his home were attacked. About attackers he said, "They were shouting, abusing and threatening Hindi speaking people to go back. We were scared."
Till Friday, 23 FIRs were registered, 180 people arrested
Mehsana is the worst affected area followed by Sabarkantha. Mahendrasinh Chavda, Gandhinagar Range IG, which covers the affected areas said till Friday 23 FIRs have been registered for rioting, damaging public and private property. He said 180 people have been arrested. "All the SPs, deputy SPs and supervisory officers have been asked to increase patrolling to ensure safety," he added.
Alpesh Thakor's Sena blamed for attack, he denies allegations
Alpesh Thakor's Thakor Sena has been blamed for the attacks, but he denied the allegations. "There could be members from our community and Sena but no such instruction (to launch attacks) was given out from our side (Thakor Sena)," he said. Further, he added Sena's motive was to target state government and companies, for not having 80% strength of locals in their bodies.
Further, Thakor demanded FIRs to be withdrawn
Asking the police to withdraw FIRs filed against those who weren't involved in violence, Thakor said, "How can you name somebody in the FIR who was not there at all? We are demanding police withdraw cases against all these persons within 72 hours."
Groups on Facebook spread rumors about migrants
Notably, over a dozen videos targeting migrants are being circulated on social media. One such video purportedly showed a locals' group threatening migrants asking them to leave Gujarat. 70 Facebook profiles have been identified by Ahmedabad Cyber Cell for spreading rumors against migrants. "We have arrested one person Mahesh Thakor and a minor for spreading rumors and hatred," said Cyber Cell ACP Rajdeepsinh Zala.
Meanwhile, Uttar Bhartiya Community has sought action against accused
Meanwhile, Uttar Bhartiya Community has given a memorandum to Surat Police Commissioner seeking action against the accused. Alok Upadhyay of the organization said people from UP and Bihar made Gujarat their home state. He asked why was the entire community blamed for actions of one. "Putting out such hate messages on social media will create a rift between the community," he said.