Migrant workers hurl stones at police in Gujarat's Bharuch, demand to be sent back home

Migrant workers hurl stones at police in Gujarat's Bharuch, demand to be sent back home

Desperate to return to their home states, a group of 150 migrant workers hurled stones at the police in Dahej industrial area of Gujarat's Bharuch district on Friday morning, a senior official said.

The police lobbed two teargas shells to clear the mob that had gathered in the area to demand a return passage to their home states amid the COVID-19 lockdown, Bharuch district superintendent of police Rajendrasinh Chudasama said.

Migrant workers, stranded in the district because of the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, had staged several protests in the last two days in support of their demand that they be sent to their hometowns by Shramik Special trains, he said.

"Even on Thursday, many of them took to the streets. But they went back after I personally appealed to them to be patient as their online registration was done and they only had to wait for confirmation from the authorities," Chudasama said.

However, 150 of them once again came out on Friday, voicing the same demand and pelted stones on police vehicles, he said, adding two teargas shells had to be lobbed to disperse the crowd.

Meanwhile, around 400 labourers from Bihar held a peaceful rally in Botad town of Botad district on Friday, demanding immediate arrangements for them to travel back to their ancestral homes.

Before things could get out of hand, the police stopped the protesters at a market and convinced them to wait for confirmation of travel arrangements from the authorities, an official said.

Botad district collector Vishal Gupta claimed that migrants are stuck because approvals for sending them back are pending from the Bihar government since May 10.

"The district administration has made all arrangements to send the migrants back. We have done their medical check-ups and arranged for buses to ferry them to the railway station.

"There is a delay because the Bihar government has not given approvals for trains," he said.