Police fire teargas shells, resort to lathicharge after thousands of desperate migrant workers defy social distancing in Gujarat’s Surat


Police in Gujarat’s Surat were forced to fire teargas shells and resort to lathicharge after its clash with thousands of desperate migrant workers spiralled out of control on Monday. The video of thousands of desperate migrant workers defying social distancing norms in a bid to find transportation to return to their native places went viral on social media.


The incident took place in the BJP-ruled Gujarat, which has become the second worst-hit state of the coronavirus pandemic. The state has reported 290 deaths that form nearly 25% of the total COVID-19 deaths registered across India.

A report by news agency PTI said that desperate migrant workers clashed with police near Vareli village on the outskirts of Surat while demanding that arrangements be made to send them back to their native places. They were accused of throwing stones at the police prompting them to retaliate with teargas shells and lathicharge.

There were also reports of several migrant workers hitting streets in Rajkot demanding that they be sent back to their hometowns.

The Indian government recently announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown by another two weeks. These migrant workers were left stranded across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the nationwide lockdown on 24 March by giving people just four hours of notice.

The development in Surat prompted many to ask why lapdog TV channels had failed to detect any editorial value in the story. Some wondered if this was because they had failed to find a mosque in the vicinity to link it to the Muslim community. India’s TV media, often called loyal lapdogs for their brazen biases in favour of the militant Hindutva ideology, has been desperately trying to demonise the Muslim community by linking a global pandemic to their faith. This resulted in the economic boycott of poor Muslims by a Hindus. Among those giving a call for the economic boycott of Muslims also included BJP lawmakers.