Thousands of workers had queued up outside SDA office to collect forms to waive school fees
Police resorted to baton charge and tear gas shelling on jobless diamond workers after a gathering of the latter turned violent outside the Surat Diamond Association (SDA) office at Varachha on Monday.
Nearly 10,000 workers had queued up outside the SDA office since early morning to collect and fill up forms for waiver of school fees of their children. Some youths tried to break the queue,leading to a chaos at the spot. This made SDA president C P Vanani to stop the distribution. Fearing they would not get the forms,the mob turned violent and pelted stones at SDA property and vehicles parked outside.
The authorities immediately called the Varachha police. In a bid to disperse the crowed,the police fired four tear gas shells and,later,took to light lathicharge. The situation was brought under control after extra police staff with SRP battalion reached the spot.
Four policemen,including Kapodara Inspector B M Desai,and four diamond polisher,including a woman,sustained minor injuries. They were taken to a local hospital and were discharged after primary treatment.
Joint Police Commissioner V M Parghi said: SDA was doing a good job to help the diamond polishers. But they took a wrong way by inviting thousands of polishers to their office. Earlier,we had sent message to the SDA president that they should contact schools in Varachha,Katargam,Kapodara and Punagam areas and find how many students had not paid the fees.
He said that the police have learnt that some notorious elements were present in the crowed,which turned violent. We have registered complaint against 10,000 people, he added.
Vanani said that,generally,they start distribution at 10 am,but as there were too many people today,they started distributing the forms early.
Somebody spread rumour that forms are less as a result of which people started pushing each other,so,we stopped the distribution. We will distribute the forms again after a few days, he added.
Mumbai based Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council has announced to pay the school fees for the children of those workers who have been rendered jobless in the wake of the prevailing financial crisis in the industry.