Published On: Tue, Apr 14th, 2020

Large number of migrants at Bandra rly station in Mumbai assemble to return home

Mumbai: Social distancing went for a toss when over thousand migrant labourers mostly from Bihar and West Bengal took to the streets in Mumbai on Tuesday thronged near the Bandra railway station on Tuesday demanding that they should be provided transportation to return to their native places immediately.

Aditya Thackeray said that these migrants have no homes or food and want to return to their native places

The Mumbai Police, which attempted to cajole them from jamming there in such large numbers, resorted to a mild lathi charge when sections of the restive hordes threatened to go out of control.

Pranay Ashok, DCP PRO, Mumbai Police said, “Around 1,500 people had gathered in Bandra to go to their homes, and while talking about the situation with the labourers, some of them got aggressive. For this, we had to use light force and the crowd was removed, now the situation is back to normal in the area.”

The gathering — violating strict prohibitory orders enforced throughout the state — took place barely a couple of km from ‘Matoshri’, the private residence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. The incident has sparked a political row.

Though the reasons for the sudden crowding were not clear, there were some rumours of food packets to be distributed by local groups and of some long-distance trains being started from Bandra on Tuesday night.

In a veiled attack on the Centre, Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray said that these migrants have no homes or food and want to return to their native places, but no transport facilities are currently operating.

However, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Poonam Mahajan demanded that the state government should make separate planning for the migrants, which it was not doing, resulting in this chaos on Tuesday.

The BJP state Vice-President, Kirit Somaiya, asked the government how can such a huge crowd gather flouting Section 144 (the prohibitory orders)?

“It’s a matter of deep concern. What about intelligence, and why today? The state government must treat this incident seriously and modify its schemes to provide food to the migrants,” Somaiya urged.

Targeting the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government, BJP leader Nitesh Rane said tomorrow it could be a (migrant) crowd from the Konkan.

“It’s the angst of the people. Ten people live in a 10×10 hutment in Mumbai. They should be given proper food or be allowed to return home,” Rane said.

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