Surat: Police fire tear gas shells as textile workers turn violent after being barred from going home
Surat city police lobbed 30 tear gas shells to disperse an angry mob of textile factory workers who attacked the cops when stopped from leaving for their homes in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states late Sunday.
A mob of around 500 came on to the streets confronting the police, which charged at them with lathis to drive them back to Pandesara, where they live in colonies. This led to stone-pelting, where three police vehicles were damaged by the angry crowd. The police later arrested 96 people on charges of rioting.
All the arrested are textile labourers who wanted to walk back to their native places in UP, Bihar, and so on. Due to the lockdown and shortage of food in the textile labour colonies in Surat city, thousands of workers left their rented rooms and started walking to the reach national highway around 20 km away.
Near Sachin, these labourers walking in groups were stopped by the police and told that there were no other transport services running on the highways. However, the workers, mostly working in the powerloom factories and dyeing and printing units in Surat city, insisted on continuing their journey.
When the police disallowed them, some of the workers threw stones at the police personnel. As the situation worsened, more force was called in. Soon a lathi-charge ensued and the police succeeded in driving the group back to Pandesara. Three police vehicles, including that of Deputy Commissioner of Police Vidhi Chaudhary, were damaged in the stone-pelting, though no cops were injured.
On Monday afternoon, all the arrested workers were produced before JMFC court of D L Thakor and later released on bail. DCP Chaudhari said the situation is under control now. "Our police team had done their best to convince them, but they had only one thing in mind: to walk back home."
(Inputs and image from theindianexpress.com)