Friday, December 4

Xenophibic Punjabis versus rioting migrants




An eyewitness account of the happenings in Ludhiana on Friday, December 4 as migrants went on rampage and police assisted by locals retaliated with vengeance. The spine-chilling violence unleashed by the police aided by locals went entirely unreported in the mainstream media. Here is what I saw...


We were told migrant labourers, pejoratively called Bhaiyas here, were rioting in the industrial area in Focal Point.

At around 11.30 we reached there.

A burnt car at the Dhandari flyover and some buses and trucks smouldering with dying out fire further up, stood out as burning testimonies of what had gone there earlier in the morning. Stones lay splattered all around.

It was supposed to be a curfew clamped there. But people roamed around openly wielding lathis, axes and swords. The migrants who were supposed to be the riotous mobs were on the other side of the railway track in the thickly populated Dhandari Khurd area.

The bhaiyas were in attacking mode and local populace was holding them up, we were told.

We soon learnt what was actually going on.

It was plain and simple xenophobia manifesting itself in its ugliest form.

It was started by migrant labourers but they didn’t know what they had bargained for.

Local youth from nearby areas, with police backing them up in background, unleashed a fury, repercussions of which would be felt for long time to come.

Cornered in the village, the unarmed labourers in substantial numbers, came from different sides to pelt stones. The policemen including the officers were the first ones to run. The armed locals withstood the onslaught and retaliated. They picked those they could lay their hands upon, raining blows and lathis mercilessly. Police took over after that. Continuing with the thrashing they dragged the bleeding labourers piling them up in their vehicles.

As the beating continued media was threatened openly not to shoot or click pictures. Media, incidentally, was more than obliging.

By evening the outnumbered and outmaneuvered migrants had retreated into background.


video


-Jatinder Preet