Christmas celebrations by migrants turn violent; Kerala police arrest 150

The violence lasted about five hours and involved labourers employed by the Kitex Group

According to officials, the workers attacked the police when they tried to resolve a dispute that erupted between two groups

Christmas Day celebrations by migrant labourers at Kizhakkambalam, Ernakulam District, Kerala, turned violent on Saturday, leading to several policemen being assaulted and two police jeeps damaged, officials said. 

In the subsequent police action, around 150 workers – employees of Kitex Group and living in a housing camp built for them by the company – were taken into custody. 

Some police personnel were hospitalised, police said, without giving the exact number. “The workers had brutally assaulted the police officers, including a circle inspector, who had reached the spot to resolve the arguments between two groups of labourers on Saturday night,” the company’s managing director, Sabu Jacob, said. 

He said that initially the camp security and the supervisors tried to intervene and resolve the issue, but they too were assaulted and thereafter, the police was called. However, when the police arrived, the “uncontrollable” workers attacked the officers, who were forced to retreat to safety, leaving their vehicles behind. 

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Two vehicles were then damaged by some of the workers; one was also set on fire. 

Jacob said that there was no criminal intent behind what happened and claimed that drugs were brought into the camp and some of the workers were probably under its influence, leading to them becoming “uncontrollable”. He said his company would cooperate with the investigation.

In a video seen by The Federal, a group of people can be heard “Jai Sri Ram”.

One native told The Federal that substance use among the migrant workers had led to law and order issues in the past.. “We have raised complaints with the police many times, but they are yet to take any action,” a local said.

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