HC seeks Gujarat’s reply on PIL on attack on migrants

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Thursday asked the state to file an affidavit on a public interest litigation plea that sought action against those involved in attacks on migrant workers and those who failed to protect them.

The PIL was filed by lawyer-rights activist Khemchand Koshti to challenge the “action or inaction of the state as well as police in not taking any preventive steps” to stop the attacks on migrants living in Gujarat.

The petitioner contended that this was not only illegal and unreasonable, but also violated Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

The petitioner said that more than two lakh migrants had fled Gujarat to their home states after the rape of a 14-month-old girl in north Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district. After this, “some political leaders addressed meetings and gave inflammatory speeches to provoke local inhabitants and thereafter incidents of violence/attacks on migrants spread across the state”.

He claimed that there were nearly one crore migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and other states who worked in Gujarat’s factories, construction industry, and all GIDCs, while others were employed as carpenters, plumbers, electricians or painters.

The petitioner accused the respondent state government and its DGP of “not taking preventive measures to prevent such incidents and not providing proper protection/security to migrants residing in the state from many years.”

He pointed out that these migrants had integrated themselves into the culture and ethos of gujarat while earning their livelihood, and also been contributors to its development.