After protests broke out over the rape of a 14-month-old girl in Gujarat, hundreds of migrant workers are allegedly fleeing the state fearing a backlash.
Migrants have been attacked after one of the accused in the rape case turned out to be a migrant worker from Bihar.
The Indian Express reported that a mob attacked at least 15 migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in the Waghodia district in Vadodara.
The police have said that they have arrested 342 people in connection with the violence.
Shivanand Jha, Gujarat's Director General of Police, was quoted byNews18 as saying, "Six districts have mainly been affected (by the violence), with Mehsana and Sabarkantha being the worst hit. In these districts, 42 cases have been lodged and so far we have arrested 342 accused. More arrests will be made as names of the accused come up during investigation."
The police said that a message has been doing the rounds in the area, provoking people.
Deputy Superintendent of Police HD Mewada told The Indian Express, "A provocative message had been doing rounds on a social media messaging app to instigate the mob against migrant workers. These messages were based on the recent rape case in Sabarkantha and exploited the sentiment that workers from outside were taking away job opportunities. There have also been calls for a Waghodia bandh on Monday. We have strengthened security and patrolling to avoid any untoward incident."
Meanwhile, the incidents of violence have created fear among Vadodara's migrant workers, many of whom are reportedly leaving the state.
NDTV reported that hundreds of workers belonging to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were leaving Gujarat, fearing for their safety.