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Migrant workers keen to return to villages gather outside Mumbai’s Bandra station defying lockdown

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 14, 2020 Published on April 14, 2020

Migrant workers gather outside Bandra West Railway Station as they defy lockdown norms and request to leave for their native places after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the extension of nationwide lockdown till May 3 in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Mumbai, Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Migrant workers were hoping to get back home as they expected the lockdown to end on Tuesday.   -  PTI

Thousands of migrant workers gathered outside Mumbai's Bandra West railway station on Tuesday evening in hopes of making their way back home expecting the lockdown to end today.

Pictures and videos of the massive crowd gathered outside the station were shared across social media platforms. The police had later resorted to lathi charge in order to disperse and manage the crowd.

According to media reports, the crowd consisted mainly of migrant workers and labourers who have not been able to earn wages since the implementation of the 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the county which was supposed to end today.

The crowd had gathered outside the station after a rumour had broken out that long-distance rains will begin functioning from today, India TV reported.

Primi Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday morning announced that the lockdown will now be extended till May 3.

Multiple politicians and the opposition criticized the centre for this incident citing lack of planning.

“The current situation at Bandra Station, now dispersed or even the rioting in Surat is a result of the Union Government not being able to take a call on arranging a way back home for migrant labour. They don’t want food or shelter, they want to go back home,” politician Aaditya Thackeray tweeted from his official account.

“A mutual road map set by Union Govt will largely help migrant labour to reach home from one state to another safely and efficiently. Time and again this issue has been raised with the centre,” he further said.

“The law and order situation in Surat, Gujarat, largely has been seen as a similar situation and the feedback from all migrant labour camps is similar. Many are refusing to eat or stay in. Currently, more than 6 lakh people are housed in various shelter camps across Maha,” hhe said.

However, according to a report by India Today, Maharashtra Cabinet minister Aslam Sheikh assured that there was no dearth of food for the migrants in the city and that they were well taken care of. The state home minister further said that the decision to seal off borders was well called for as if the workers were to move back to their villages, they would have “taken the disease with them to their villages," as per the report.

Modi in his address had said that new guidelines for the extended lockdown have been designed keeping in mind the welfare of farmers, marginalised community and daily wagers and that it will be released on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra CMO announced that CM Uddhav Thackeray will be addressing a press conference today at 8 PM.

Maharashtra has reported over 2,300 cases with the death toll surpassing 160 according to reports.

Published on April 14, 2020

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