The Gujarat government told the high court Wednesday that no incident of attack on Hindi-speaking migrants had taken place anywhere in the state in the last eight days.
The reply came in response to a public interest litigation (PIL), seeking to know the steps taken by the government to ensure the safety of migrant workers, following a spate of violence targeting them.
In an affidavit, Pankaj Dave, Under Secretary, state Home department, told a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi that 754 people were arrested in connection with the attacks on migrants and 63 cases registered.
The attacks were confined to 10 districts, the government claimed.
Ten cases were registered under the Information Technology Act “for spreading hate” and provocative messages or videos on the social media “which would aggravate the situation”, the government told the court.
Eighty-nine people were held under the IT Act in these cases, it said.
“No incident was reported since last eight days as the state and the people of Gujarat have spoken in one voice against such destructive forces,” the government’s reply said.
“State machinery is deployed in confidence-building measures among the migrants and the people of Gujarat,” it added.
On the flight of Hindi-speaking migrants from the state following the attacks, the affidavit said, “The overall impression gathered by senior officers (who spoke to migrant workers at railway stations) is that they left the state for various reasons like Durga Puja, Chhat Puja and other social, religious and family reasons.”
The PIL filed by senior advocate K R Koshti claimed that the government failed to protect the fundamental rights of the migrant population and the police did not act.
The attacks started after some “political leaders” made “inflammatory speeches” to provoke the locals against the migrants, the PIL alleged.
Over two lakh migrant workers had left Gujarat due to the attacks, Koshti claimed in the petition.
The spate of attacks began after the alleged rape of a 14-month-old girl in Sabarkantha district on September 28 and the arrest of a worker from Bihar in the case.