Migrant workers, police clash in Gujarat as India eases lockdown
Hundreds of migrant workers in India's Gujarat looking to return home amid the nationwide Covid-19-enforced lockdown today clashed with police near a village in Surat district.
The clash ensued as the security personnel tried to foil the demonstration of the agitated workers who gathered near Vareli village on the outskirts of Surat demanding that arrangements be made to send them back home, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
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In a separate incident, several labourers also came out on a road in Rajkot, another town of Gujarat, demanding that they be sent back to their hometowns after being unable to go back home.
In Surat, the agitated workers threw stones at the police, following which the security personnel lobbed teargas shells and baton-charged the agitated workers to foil their demonstration, a police official said.
The labourers also damaged some vehicles parked on Surat-Kadodara road, he said, adding that the situation was later brought under control and security was stepped up in the area.
The workers said they have long been waiting for the administration to clear their journey back home.
"Many of us sold off our personal belongings to arrange for the bus fare. But we are still at the same place, with no permission for our buses to move. We are stranded here with no help from officials. We demand the authorities allow us to return home and clear way for it," he said.
In Rajkot, some migrant workers gathered outside the collector's office to fill-up forms for returning home, saying they had no food and money.
Some of the workers said they were not paid their salaries from factories where they worked, while their landlords are still demanding house rent.
"Our company gave the salary initially but is not paying us anymore. We have nothing to eat, we want the government to arrange for a train back to our native place from Rajkot," a worker said.