The Gujarat High Court on Thursday directed the state government to file an affidavit on the recent attacks on migrants while admitting a petition seeking action against the perpetrators. The public interest litigation, filed by advocate and social activist Khemchand Koshti from Ahmedabad, also challenged the “action or inaction of the state as well as the state police in not taking any preventive measures” to prevent the attacks on the migrants.
The petitioner stated that this was not only “illegal” and “unreasonable” but also in violation of Article 14 (right to equality), Article 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth), Article 19 (freedom to reside or settle anywhere in India) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.
The petition stated that more than two lakh migrants have fled Gujarat and returned to their home states after the rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha following which “some political leaders addressed meetings and gave inflammatory speeches to provoke local inhabitants and thereafter the incidents of violence/attacks on migrants spread over the state”.
The state government and the DGP, who have been made respondents in the PIL, have been held responsible for “not taking preventive measures to prevent such incidents and not providing proper protection/security to migrants”.
“Migrants residing in the state from many years have integrated themselves into the culture and ethos of the state while earning their livelihood. They have also been a contributor to the development of Gujarat,” the PIL added.
The Division Bench led by Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy slated the hearing next week.