Hundreds of migrant workers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are fleeing India's western state of Gujarat after series of violent attacks and protests against them, officials and locals said Sunday.
The attacks and protests, according to police, were triggered by the rape of a 14-month-old baby girl allegedly by a man from Bihar.
Police said the accused has been arrested.
According to police close to 200 people have been arrested for allegedly targeting people, particularly Hindi-speaking migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The brutal incident took place in Sabarkantha district, about 92 km north of Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat.
Protests and incidents of violence were reported in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Patan, Sabarkantha and Mehsana a day after the accused was arrested.
Reports said during the last 24 hours the police reported around 19 incidents of violent attacks on migrant laborers in northern districts of Gujarat.
Authorities have deployed extra contingents of police and intensified patrolling in affected parts particularly Sabarkantha.
"In reaction to the Himmatnagar's Gambhoi rape incident, some people are targeting those who have come to Gujarat from other states. This is totally unacceptable," Gujarat police chief Shivanand Jha told the media. "We have arrested more than 150 such people and are patrolling areas that have more non-Gujarati people."
Police officials said attacks happened after hate messages against non-Gujaratis, particularly those from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, were circulated on social media like Whatsapp and Facebook.
The fleeing migrant workers were engaged as daily wage workers in factories, construction sites or doing menial jobs.
Some set up makeshift stalls to sell Panipuri - a common street snack, tea and coconut water stalls to make their ends meet.
The ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and opposition Congress have appealed for peace and harmony in the state in wake of the violence and exodus of migrant laborers.