There have been attacks on laborers from North India states especially in Surat, Gujarat. As per Tarachand Kasat, Vice-President, All-India Textiles Traders Association, Surat has around 7-8 lakh workers from North India working in Gujarat industrial sector. Currently, Migration is an important and critical topic in the state of Gujarat following recent attacks on laborers. Chinmay Tumbe, IIM-Ahmedabad, reported that in the city of Surat, 70% of the city’s workforce is migrants, while in Ahmedabad, the figure touches 50%.
These attacks stem from reports that a man from Bihar has been named a suspect in the rape and murder of a toddler in Surat. Gujarat-based outfit Uttar Bharatiya Vikas Parishad said over 20,000 Hindi-speaking migrants had fled the state in the last one week after a spate of attacks on them following the September 28 rape of a 14-month-old girl in a village near Himmatnagar town in Sabarkantha district. Despite the current animosity some sections of Gujarati society might have against workers from other states, municipal authorities in Surat are catering to the city’s migrants by running over 120 special schools for them. There are over 65,000 students from just Classes I to VII. Many migrants from cities like Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh moved to Gujarat as they got attracted by the city’s rich entrepreneurial tradition, particularly its famous diamond, textiles, construction and a plethora of informal sectors. Coming back to the SMC’s education initiative for migrant children Gujarat opened different language-medium schools for migrants since migrants are sometimes unable to adjust in Gujarati medium or English medium schools, and since sometimes they can’t afford a private school education. Gayatriben Jariwala, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of the Surat Municipal Corporation said during an interview “Actually, when we offer proper education in a child’s local language, they can flourish, digest the subject better and acquire maximum knowledge. This will keep them in good stead in the long run”. This is a city that is willing to accommodate children from around the country and not denying them basic education. Gayatri also said that there is no opposition from locals because the city in its essence is very cooperative to migrants and they are ready to engage with these children. She said education is a must for everyone in India, if children have trouble learning in local language, facilities must be made available to them. She added that once the city caters to the educational and health requirements, people will take the option of bringing their families to their place of work and for any city that’s a good thing.
By: Anuja Arora