Gujarat has a new worry after migrants flee — lack of security

Scores of private guards are believed to have fled Gujarat amid a backlash triggered against migrants over the alleged rape of a child, sparking security concerns in the state. In Ahmedabad, a huge number of people working as security guards left.

The apex body representing private security guards in India has claimed that most of the estimated 50,000 migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh who left Gujarat were sentries guarding various establishments such as residential colonies, malls, banks, ATMs and office buildings. There are more than 5 lakh security guards employed in Gujarat, and over 70 per cent of them, or 350,000, are not from the state.

Gujarat witnessed an intense backlash against migrants when reports emerged two weeks ago that a migrant worker had allegedly raped a 14-month-old. According to a report in Scroll, attacks on migrants have since been reported from at least seven of the state’s 33 districts.

While the rape has been described as the immediate trigger, the backlash followed reports of local resentment against migrants over jobs. The Indian Express reported that Congress MLA Alpesh Thakor, accused of inciting violence against migrants, said locals were upset about industries violating a government rule requiring 85 per cent of their employees to be Gujarat residents.