Lockdown Woes: 81 Migrant Workers, Mostly From Odisha, Arrested In Surat

Held For Going On Rampage On Friday Night, Released On Bail After Being Produced In Court

Surat: Eighty-one migrant workers, most of them from Odisha, were arrested by Surat Police on charges of rioting and violating the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

They were produced before the court on Saturday and released on bail as the police didn’t seek their remand.

A group of around 100 migrant labourers took to the streets in Surat’s Laskana area on Friday night, police officials said. The angry workers went on a rampage, torching vegetable carts and damaging four vehicles.

The workers claimed that they had not been paid their salary for the month of March and were also denied permission to travel back to their home towns amidst the three-week nationwide lockdown in the country.

“At least five hand carts were torched and stones were pelted at locals by the migrant workers, who took to the streets fearing that the ongoing nationwide lockdown would be extended beyond April 14. An additional police force was deployed and the situation was brought under control around 8.15 pm on Friday,” said RB Brahmabhatt, commissioner of police, Surat.

“Late on Friday night, 81 people were arrested and booked under Section 148 (rioting) and 270 (likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code and for the violation of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897,” Brahmabhatt said.

Bansidhar Lenka, general secretary of the organisation that looks after the welfare of migrant labourers from Odisha in Surat, said that Friday’s incident was unfortunate and their behaviour showed their growing anxiety.

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