THE SPATE of attacks on North Indians that began a week ago, following the rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha, reached Surat on Monday night, where four migrant workers of embroidery factories were beaten up by seven unidentified men with sticks and cricket bats in Varachha area of the city.
Though police have registered a case of rioting against unknown persons, they claimed that the attackers were “robbers” who snatched away mobile phones of migrant workers — all hailing from Uttar Pradesh. In Ahmedabad city, police lodged two fresh FIRs and arrested six persons on Monday night for attacks on migrant workers. They also held flag marches in different parts if the city.
So far, 68 FIRs have been registered and about 550 people arrested from across the state in connection with the violence. The cyber cell of Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) arrested Rahul Thakor and nine others allegedly for spreading hate messages against non-Gujaratis. Assistant Commissioner of Police, Cyber Cell, Rajdeepsinh Zala told The Indian Express that Rahul Thakor is the convener of social media cell of Thakor Sena.
With the arrest of 10 persons, the Cyber Cell has arrested a total of 29 for spreading rumours and anti-migrant sentiments in Ahmedabad alone. Police have identified a total of 114 persons involved in such activities in the state, mostly in north Gujarat, and arrested 38 of them from different districts.
Senior police officers said that out of the 68 FIRs, seven are related to spreading hatred towards non-Gujarati migrants on social media. Two persons were arrested from near Anil Mill in Ahmedabad, for allegedly beating up one Santosh V Mahto (32), a native of Nalanda in Bihar, and demanding Rs 200 for letting him stay in the city. Four persons were arrested in Danilimda, after one Kedar L Sharma, a resident of Parikshit Lal Nagar, lodged a complaint. Police said that the accused identified as Dhiru and his brother Himmat Parmar and five others assaulted Sharma, abused him and threatened him to leave the state. They have been booked on charges of robbery and rioting among others.
In Vadodara, four persons were detained late Tuesday night for pelting stones in Khodiyarnagar area of the city, which is dominated by the migrant labourers. Local sources said that the commotion was a part of the ongoing hate attacks against non-Gujaratis in the state. Police, however, ruled out the anti-migrant attack angle. “People from various communities and states live in the this area together for the last 30 years. There are no issues between them and they do not have any hatred against each other,” said Police Commissioner Anupam Singh Ghalaut.
“Today evening, one Sunil Rabari had entered a brawl with lorry owners. The matter had ended then, but it is possible that the issue snowballed and the groups clashed again in the night. We are yet to ascertain the exact cause of the stone-pelting, but we have detained four people who will be arrested after an FIR is filed. We will be investigating further and we will find out the exact cause of the stone-pelting attacks today,” he added. One person was injured in the incident.