Migrant Workers Clash With Cops In Surat, Stones Thrown, Tear Gas Fired

Migrant Workers: The protesting migrants had gathered outside the market area in Vareli on the outskirts of Surat in Gujarat

Coronavirus lockdown: Migrant workers during a protest in Gujarat's Surat

New Delhi:

A group of migrant labourers clashed with the police in Gujarat's Surat today. The workers have been demanding that they be sent home. This was the fourth instance of protest by migrants in Surat, where a huge number of labourers come from other states to work in the diamond and textile industries.

The protesting migrants had gathered outside the market area in Vareli on the outskirts of Surat. The police were called in to calm down the mob, but when they came, the people started throwing stones. The police used tear gas to control the crowd.

The police called for reinforcements and a team has been sent to the area.

Another protest by the migrants took place at the Palanpur Patia area of Surat.

Last week, hundreds of labourers held a protest outside the offices of the Diamond Bourse in Surat, alleging that they were made to work amid the countrywide lockdown over coronavirus. Claiming that they do not have enough to eat, they demanded that the authorities help them to go home.

In March, the diamond and textile associations of Surat had decided to keep working despite the slowdown in business following lockdown across the world. Apart from losses, the two industries, which employ around two million people, had cited the question of largescale unemployment.

On April 10, hundreds of protesting migrant workers hit the street, setting fire to vehicles and handcarts. On April 15, a day after the lockdown was extended for the first time, the labourers blocked a road at the city's Varachha area.

The opening of special trains for migrants has increased the turmoil in Gujarat, which, after neighbouring Maharashtra, has the second highest number of cases of coronavirus in the country.

Gujarat so far had 5,428 cases of coronavirus, 1,042 patients have recovered, 290 have died.