Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday that the violent attacks on the migrants in Gujarat is a result of “poor economic policies” that have resulted in unemployment leading to frustration in the youth.
In a Facebook post, the 48-year-old Congress chief linked the frustration to the attacks.
“Across Gujarat, poor economic policies, demonetisation and poorly executed GST have devastated industry resulting in the shutting down of factories and industrial units, leading to massive unemployment,” Gandhi wrote hitting out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state.
“Amongst the youth there is growing frustration and anger with the Government’s inability to create jobs,” he said.
“This anger and frustration is being manifested in violent attacks on migrants, across the state of Gujarat,” Gandhi argued.
The Congress leader underlined that migrant workforce is critical for economic growth.
“Attacks on them create an environment of fear and insecurity that isn’t good for business and our economy,” he said.
Calling on the government led by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to “act decisively”, Gandhi said that everything that can be done should be done “to restore peace and ensure the safety of every Indian”.
Gandhi’s remarks came amid the rising numbers of attacks on migrant labourers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh following the rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district on 28 September.
Around 40,000 people, mostly from the three states, fled Gujarat following days of violence against them by unidentified groups.
Hate messages on Whatsapp were circulated calling for attacks on migrants. Till 6 October, police had arrested around 170 people in connection with the attacks.
In a press conference on Monday, Gujarat Home Minister Pradeepsinh Jadeja said that the state government has asked the police to take action on anyone threatening migrant workers forcing them to flee the state.
“Thirty-five FIRs have been lodged and the number of attacks on migrants has decreased in the last 24 hours,” Jadeja said, adding, “We appeal to people to not be frightened as we are taking appropriate actions.”
In another statement, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani assured the safety of migrant workers and promised appropriate action against those involved in attacks.
He also appealed for the unity “which is the culture and identity of Gujarat”.
The state government blamed Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor for the violence. According to reports, the toddler who was raped belonged to the Thakor community.
His group, the Thakor Sena, have been staging protests in north Gujarat demanding justice for the girl. Thakor had on Sunday called the attacks “unfortunate” and stated that his group “never advocated violence and only talked peace”.
On Tuesday, Thakor said that he condemns the violence and is ready to go to jail if he has ever threatened anyone.
“Only one incident happened somewhere in Gujarat and I condemn it. If I’ve threatened anyone, I’ll go to jail myself. Gujarat belongs to everyone. It is as much yours as it is mine,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.