Eager to return home, migrants clash with police; 11 cops hurt

Surat: Appearing impatient to return to their native places, migrant workers pelted stones at police in Surat district of Gujarat on Monday, leaving nearly a dozen personnel injured, one of them an IPS officer, and also held protests elsewhere during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, officials said.

Several labourers came out on a road in Rajkot demanding they be sent back to their hometowns, while some migrant workers got their heads tonsured in an area of Surat after being unable to go back home. Police personnel lobbed teargas shells and baton-charged agitated workers from Uttar Pradesh, who pelted stones on them near Vareli village on the outskirts of Surat, an official said.

Migrant workers, over 1,000, were demanding arrangements be made to send them back to their native places during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, which has rendered them jobless, he said.

At least 10 policemen along with Inspector General (Surat Range), S Pandian Rajkumar, were injured in the stone pelting, he said, adding police have detained 80 people so far.

The labourers damaged some vehicles parked on the Surat-Kadodara road. They clashed with police and threw stones at them, following which security men lobbed teargas shells and used batons to disperse them, he said. “We had asked these migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh to have patience as authorities are still in talks with the UP government for their journey back home. However, a mob of over 1,000 men suddenly came on roads and started throwing stones on police, injuring 10 cops. Even I received minor injuries on my arm,” said Rajkumar. -Agencies

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