People from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar leave for their villages from Ahmedabad on Saturday after they were attacked and warned to ‘leave the state’. (Express photo Javed Raja)
Under fire for attacks on migrants in Gujarat, the state education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasma on Friday described the migrant-labour force as ‘brothers’ and appealed to the businessmen state to ensure that the state’s image of Vibrant Gujarat built by Prime Minister Narendra Modi should remain blemish-free.
“Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, Gujarat through the Vibrant Gujarat summits have built an image for itself across the globe in the past 15 years. It is our combined responsibility to ensure that this image of the state remains blemish-free,” said Chudasma at an awards function of the Ahmedabad Vepari Mahajan, a body of small businessmen and traders that employ huge number of migrants as workforce. The minister was speaking in reference to a series of attacks on migrant labourers working in factories in Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, and Gandhinagar. These attacks have lead to their exodus from the state.
Remembering a World War-II incident where the Maharaja of Jamnagar had sheltered a large number of Polish citizens, Chudasma told the gathering, “I am remembering the Polish incident because today migrants are the talk of the town. We have given shelter to even the Polish, and these migrants are our brothers.” The minister recounted how the Polish survivors recently visited Jamnagar to express their gratitude to the Maharaja. “Can we differentiate like that,” he asked while going on to give a second example of how Parsis who arrived from Iran became a part of the society in Gujarat. “If any person in the country says that Gujaratis are not allowed in Maharashtra, it will not work. No Bihari in Gujarat. Won’t work. He is also our brother.”
He also asked members of Ahmedabad Vepari Mahajan to ensure “brotherhood” prevails by sheltering and taking care of “brothers from UP and Bihar”. “At your respective workplaces… at some place there might be a brother from Uttar Pradesh who will be doing a small job. They should not be treated differently. They should be sheltered with love,” he remarked.
Earlier, speaking at the occasion, Harshad Gilletwala, president of Ahmedabad Vepari Mahajan pointed out that 70 percent of the workforce employed by the businessmen to load their goods carriers are migrants. “You guys should also see who is instigating and spoiling the atmosphere,” he added.