Gujarat Police Sunday arrested over 300 people in connection with the attacks on migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh over rape of a toddler on September 28. Gujarat Police chief Shivanand Jha said that 342 people were arrested from six districts in as many as 42 cases of attacks on migrants.
“Six districts have mainly been affected (by the violence), with Mehsana and Sabarkantha being the worst hit. In these districts, 42 cases have been lodged and so far we have arrested 342 accused. More arrests will be made as names of the accused come up during the investigation,” Director General of Police Shivanand Jha told reporters. He said 17 companies of State Reserve Police (SRP) have been deployed in the affected areas.
“Security of areas inhabited by non-Gujaratis and the factories where they work has been increased. Police have also increased patrols in these areas,” he added.
However, on being asked about the reasons behind the exodus of people from various parts of the state, the police chief maintained that they may be leaving for their native states in view of the upcoming festive season. “If people are leaving for home for a festival, it should not be seen otherwise. I have told my officers to visit residential areas, and if required, visit bus stands and railway stations and if people are found leaving due to fear, (then to) persuade them to come back,” he said.
Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor announced that he will go on a ‘sadbhavna’ (goodwill) fast from October 11 if the government does not withdraw “false cases” registered against his supporters in the wake of the attacks. Thakor had last week demanded justice for the rape survivor and called for giving preference to local people in jobs in industries in Gujarat.
The child whose alleged rape by a man from Bihar on September 28 in Sabarkantha district triggered the violence against Hindi-speaking migrants, was discharged from hospital in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Her condition was stable and she was out of danger, a senior official of the hospital said. The alleged rapist had been arrested on the same day.
Both the BJP and Congress have appealed for peace and harmony in the wake of the violence and exodus of North Indian migrants from Gujarat.