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Migrant Workers From Bengal Return in Droves Following Rajasthan Hate Murder

Every month, hundreds of labourers from Malda, Murshidabad, South 24-Parganas, Midnapore (East and West both), Burdwan, Bankura and Purulia districts are hired and sent to various states across the country for construction, handicraft and in gold ornaments work.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:December 15, 2017, 11:38 PM IST
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Migrant Workers From Bengal Return in Droves Following Rajasthan Hate Murder
Representative image/ Reuters
Kolkata: In the wake of the brutal murder in Rajasthan, a large number of migrant labourers from West Bengal and returning back to their home state fearing more attacks and killings.

Every month, hundreds of labourers from Malda, Murshidabad, South 24-Parganas, Midnapore (East and West both), Burdwan, Bankura and Purulia districts are hired and sent to various states across the country for construction, handicraft and in gold ornaments work.

Speaking to News18, state minister for Labour, Jakir Hossain said, “Due to lucrative offer these migrant labourers prefer to stay in other states but with the growing incidents of attacks and killings, most of them are now returning back to Bengal.”

“These labourers are our brothers and sisters and we will not allow them to become a prey to hate crimes. We are having a talk with the panchayat and administrative officials to prepare a fresh list of migrant labourers in Bengal and after that we will follow the instruction of our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for their welfare,” he added.

On December 6, a labourer from Bengal’s Malda district identified as Afrazul Khan (50) was killed with an axe before he was set on fire alive by a civil contractor identified as Shambhu Lal in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand village. Lal recorded the whole incident on camera.

In the video, he was seen attacking Khan with an axe repeatedly, despite cries of mercy. After Afrazul finally dies, Lal set him on fire.


Khan’s cousin Rafiul Sheikh, who is still in Rajasthan’s Dungarpur, is now worried as all his friends have fled the state.

He said, “I am really scared now as all other labourers from my village in Malda have fled. I along with 10 others are left here.”

When asked why he didn’t come back along with others, he said, “We stuck here due to payment issue. Today, we were supposed to get my Rs 6000 from my local contractor. Once we will receive the money, all of us will leave this state because I heard that in some place people protesting against the labourers from Bengal.”

“In Malda alone, almost 90% of migrant labourers returned for their safety from Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu,” Nur Alam, a labour contractor in Malda district, said.

Similarly, in South 24-Parganas and Midnapore, the situation is same. Most of the labourers came back home after being advised by their contractors.

MLA, East Canning (South 24-Parganas district), Shyamal Mondal, said, “In my area every week a large number of people migrate to other states as a labourers. But now they are returning back to their home district fearing attacks.”

“I am in touch with the local panchayat and district administration to make a list of all migrant workers to help us understand the trend of migration and what scheme we can offer them for their lively hood as per instruction from my party supremo Mamata Banerjee,” he added.

In Midnapore, panchayat pradhans are engaged in spreading Chief Minister’s message that those who want to return the government will give them Rs 50,000 to start a small business.

State labour commissioner Javed Akhtar said, “The recent incidents are really a matter of concern for us. A large number of them are coming back. Our officers are working in the ground to assist these labourers who came back to their home districts. As per eligibility, we will help them with government schemes.”

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| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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