Curfew in Ludhiana after migrant workers’ protest

Ludhiana which is considered to be the richest district of Punjab and a major industrial centre saw a curfew imposed on Friday (December 4) after militant protests by migrant labourers, and the subsequent police-instigated violence against them by a section of the local youth. The labourers were protesting against “inaction by the police in acting against gangs of motorcycle riders who rob them of their earnings during the first week of every month”.

Protests began Thursday night after police shooed away the workers when they went to “report another incident of looting”. They blocked Delhi-Ludhiana-Jalandhar highway. Violence began after daybreak when the callous police administration refused to act. In fact, as Indian Express reports further:

“Desperate to contain the rioting, police encouraged youth in Dhandari Kalan to combat the migrant protesters,most of whom live in Dhandhari Khurd village. As a result, what began as a clash between migrant labourers and police, quickly turned into a clash between Punjabi’s and migrants. Police claimed the locals came out on their own after protesters torched their vehicles but they did nothing to stop them. Instead the cops were seen encouraging the attackers, armed with swords, gandasas and baseball bats,and used them as shields to launch baton charges against the protesters.”

Subsequently, curfew was imposed in five worst affected parts of the city. In other areas too police flag marched “to discourage other migrant communities from joining the protests”. Further, the State administration has already requested “the Union Home Ministry…to send two battalions of paramilitary forces for deployment in Ludhiana.” Hence, the so-called “War on People” is not just limited to jungles and only for securing natural resources, but also to discipline “human resources”; after all, all these are needed to secure a 9% growth rate.

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