A total of 162 migrant workers have been arrested after they attacked a police team, which went to contain a clash that erupted among them during Christmas celebrations here, police said on Monday.
In the remand report filed by the police on Monday, two different cases have been registered against those arrested — a murderous attack on Circle Inspector V P Sajan at Kizhakkambalam in Ernakulam and destruction of public property to the tune of Rs 12 lakh.
The incident occurred on Saturday night following a dispute over the Christmas Carol music team. Around 500 ‘guest workers’ under the influence of alcohol working for a prominent private industry in Kizhakkambalam fought against each other.
Police arrived at the scene and tried to disperse the crowd of the clashing workers, who attacked the police with stones and rods. Five policemen were injured and have been admitted to the hospital.
The workers also set two police jeeps on fire. A strong police contingent arrived at the scene and lathi-charged the workers bringing the situation under control.
The arrested would be housed in various jails in Ernakulam and Trissur, the police said.
Meanwhile, social media was abuzz with many criticising Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for having coined the ‘guest workers’ terminology.
The locals at Kizhakkambalam on Monday gathered at places and said that these migrant labourers ‘have become a menace’.
“Most of the time they fight amongst themselves and on Sunday’s or holidays they create issues after drinking. Things are not that well,” said a group of locals.
The term ‘guest workers’ (migrant labourers) was coined by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan soon after the Covid pandemic broke out in March last year.
Approximately there were around 1.6 million migrant workers in the state till the pandemic broke out. During the pandemic, the Vijayan government opened special camps for them and close to 4 lakh of them were kept in around 17,000 camps.