Migrant Workers Are the Latest Targets of “Gujarat Model”

People boarding train
Migrant workers fleeing

In the last few days, thousands of migrant workers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have been venomously targeted as “outsiders” and brutally attacked in the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat. Migrants are being targeted and beaten with sticks and stone, and hate messages are being circulated on social media after a migrant from Bihar was arrested for allegedly raping a minor in Sabarkantha district, Gujarat on September 28. Several districts in Gujarat have been affected by this massive violence – Sabarkantha, Patan, Mehsana, Gandhinagar and Aravalli.

When faced with questions about mass exodus from Gujarat, the state police and the saffron brigade shamelessly replied that people fleeing are simply leaving for home for festivals like Diwali and Chhath! Nothing can be more absurd than this! There is still a month to go for these festivals, and migrant workers generally leave for home barely few days before. Further, the same Gujarat police has arrested 342 people from various parts of the state for attacking non-Gujaratis. Why they are forced to arrest so many people if everything is alright in Gujarat? On the other hand, UP CM Yogi Adityanath audaciously called these violent attacks as only rumours by those who are jealous of Gujarat’s “development”! Is he the Chief Minister of UP or publicist of Modi’s so-called “Gujarat Model”? 

While BJP has perfected the politics of hate and violence, a Congress leader in Gujarat can also be seen giving anti-migrant speech.

The Jumla Called “Gujarat Model”

H.D. Mewada, the deputy superintendent in Waghodia district, Gujarat has accepted the fact that the entire hate campaign was orchestrated exploiting the sentiment that workers from “outside” were taking away job opportunities of Gujaratis. In the last few years, Modi’s “Gujarat model” has miserably failed to generate dignified employment for the local youth in the state. But the anger, instead of being directed towards the abysmal failure of the Government, was calculatedly and deviously channelized towards migrant workers. And this is not happening for the first time in Gujarat. To divert attention from their utter failure and refusal to address burning issues like agricultural distress and massive unemployment, the RSS-BJP have mastered the art of manufacturing the idea of “outsiders” time and again – religious minorities (2002 riots), Dalits (Una flogging) and this time, migrant workers. Migrants from UP and Bihar are facing violence without even any assurance of protection from the BJP Governments either in Gujarat or their home states – and with silence from the Prime Minister Modi.  

Divide, Divert and Rule:

It is crystal clear now that the ruling regime has absolutely failed in all fronts – from tacking farm distress to price of petrol-diesel, from education to generating employment. Now to divert attention from these issues, the saffron brigade is desperate to create new enemy everyday to whip up frenzy and madness: “anti-national”, “half Maoist”, “urban Naxal”, “Bangladeshi infiltrators” and the list goes on!

This fascist regime, to hide their monumental failures has a very clear motto: “divide, divert and rule”. We have seen BJP President Amit Shah claim that millions of “termites” in India need extermination: clearly targeting Muslim immigrants and refugees as well as Indian Muslim citizens. The Citizenship Amendment Bill made it abundantly clear that it wants to deal with the issues of citizenship and immigration on the basis of a communal framework where Muslims will be excluded and treated adversely. The BJP is striving to communalise the NRC exercise in Assam. BJP leaders in Bengal and other states are also now speaking about introducing NRC outside Assam, clearly targeting the Muslim community which is customarily branded by the BJP and RSS as a community of “Bangladeshi infiltrators”.

The very politics of the Sangh brigade is dependent on manufacturing the idea of “outsider”/ “infiltrator”/ “other”. And now, it is unfolding in PM Modi’s “dreamland” Gujarat. But we must fight back this hate politics. We must uphold the dignity and human rights of everyone, and we must not treat our own people as aliens in their own land. 

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