July 2, 2020 6:21:58 am
Several migrant labourers working in the industrial area of Shapar Veraval in Rajkot, who had clashed with the police earlier in May and were arrested under charges of attempt to murder and dacoity, moved the Gujarat High Court seeking regular bail.
Hearing the bail applications of at least 15 of the accused migrant workers, represented by advocates Anand Yagnik and Pratik Rupala, on Wednesday, the court of Justice Gita Gopi issued a notice to the state government in this regard, expected to be responded to by July 7.
It has been submitted by the applicant migrants that while they wanted to go back to their respective states of Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and others, and had registered for the same, “the local revenue and police authority were absolutely indifferent and lethargic towards arranging buses to go from Shapar to Rajkot railway station on the day when Shramik Express trains were leaving for their respective states.”
Several workers who tried to walk the distance were reportedly arrested under CrPC section 144 and was also charged under the Disaster Management Act. Some other workers reportedly went to the Shapar Police Station requesting the police for buses.
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On May 17, heated arguments took place between the workers and the police and the workers then protested at the Rajkot Gondal highway.
Following this, a “confrontation” broke out, according to the applicants. “Entire incident took place suddenly, without any premeditation and in a desperation to go back to their respective parent state,” states the petition.
In judicial custody since May 17, when the FIR was registered naming 25 people as accused, the migrant workers have been charged with attempt to murder, rioting, unlawful assembly and under the provisions of Gujarat Prevention of Anti-Social Activity Act, 1985.
The accused have also placed reliance on the HC’s earlier order in the case of a clash that broke out between migrants and police near Vastrapur. The court had observed that in view of the Covid-19 lockdown, the said accused migrant workers were “victims, and certainly not criminals.”
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