Amid a war of words between the BJP and Congress over an exodus of migrants leaving Gujarat, Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani Friday said that diversity was the strength of the country. Migrants in Gujarat have been targeted since a 19-year-old worker from Bihar was arrested for allegedly abducting and raping a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district on September 28.
“Bharat ki pratibha, Bharat ka parakram aur Bharat ka tej is baat mein hain ki hum sab alag alag bhashayen, alag alag boliya bolne ke bavajud bhi ek samvidhan ke niche bandhkar rashtra ke navnirman me ekjut hokar yogdan karate hain. Hamari sabse badi penchan, hamari sabse badi takat yahi hain (The fact that we abide by one Constitution and work together for rebuilding our nation despite our different languages and dialects is a talent, calibre and brilliance of India. Thus it is our prominent identity and our biggest strength),” Irani said, when asked a query on the sidelines of an event in Nirona village of Kutch on Friday.
Irani is in Nirona village, Nakhtrana taluka of Kutch, to lay the foundation stone of projects worth Rs 1.08 crore for making it a model village. Irani has adopted the village under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana and has allocated grants from her MP Local Area Development Fund to develop underground drainage line, cement concrete roads etc in Nioran, which is known for Rogan art of painting on clothes.
The violence in the state began after police arrested one Ravindra Sahu, a native of Bihar, on September 29 for allegedly committing sexual assault on the girl child. Police have registered dozens of FIRs, and arrested hundreds of people for the alleged assaults on migrants.
The ruling BJP has been accusing Congress, particularly Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor, of fomenting trouble. However, addressing a press conference in Delhi on Friday, Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil, who hails from Gujarat, alleged that three BJP MLAs were inciting the locals against migrants.
North Gujarat districts including Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Patan, Sabarkantha and Mehsana witnessed protests against migrants working in local factories. Thakor, Congress MLA from Radhanpur Assembly constituency, Patan district and AICC in-charge of Bihar, had staged a day-long fast in Ahmedabad earlier this week claiming that members from a community had been falsely implicated in cases by police. Further, he demanded that FIRs against those not involved in violence targeting migrants be withdrawn.