Thursday, June 1, 2023
Support Our Journalism
HomeIndiaHundreds of migrants gather at Bandra railway station, demand transportation to go...

Hundreds of migrants gather at Bandra railway station, demand transportation to go home

The daily wage earners, who majorly hail from West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, said they are not happy with the announcement of extending the lockdown.

Text Size:

Mumbai: Over 1,000 migrant workers who earn daily gathered here on Tuesday demanding transport arrangements to go back to their native places, hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extension of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown till May 3.

A police official said the migrants were dispersed two hours later and have been assured accommodation and food till the lockdown lasts.

In viral videos, police were seen using mild cane- charge to disperse the migrants, who had gathered near the Bandra railway station in suburban Mumbai.

Daily wage workers have been rendered jobless ever since the lockdown was announced late last month to stem the spread of COVID-19, making their life a constant struggle.

Though authorities and NGOs have made arrangements for their food, most of them want to go back to their native places to escape the hardship brought by the sweeping curbs.

Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the migrant workers who gathered outside Bandra railway station might have expected that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would order reopening of state borders.

They were told by the police that borders are not going to be opened and the situation was now under control, he said, adding the migrants were assured that the state government will make arrangement of food and accommodation for them, following which the crowds dispersed, he said.

State Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray blamed the Centre for the protest by the migrant workers and sought a road map to facilitate their journey back to their native places.

In a series of tweets, Thackeray said, “The current situation in Bandra, 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 migrant labour.”

“They don’t want food or shelter, they want to go back home,” Thackeray said. He said feedback from all migrant labour camps is similar – that these workers want to go back to their native places.

“Many are refusing to eat or stay in these camps,” he said. Currently, more than six lakh people are housed in various shelter camps across Maharashtra, he added.

Describing the Bandra gathering as an intelligence failure, former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya said the government should explain how so many people gathered at a spot despite the lockdown.

According to a police official, daily wage earners, numbering over 1,000, assembled at suburban Bandra (West) bus depot near the railway station and squatted on road at around 3 pm.

The daily wage earners, who reside on rent in slums in in the nearby Patel Nagri locality, were demanding arrangement of transport facilities so that they can go back to their native towns and villages.

They hail from states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

One of the labourers, who did not reveal his name, said, NGOs and local residents are providing food to migrant workers, but they want to go back to their native states during the lockdown which has badly affected their source of livelihood.

“Now, we dont want food, we want to go back to our native place, we are not happy with the announcement (extending the lockdown),” he said, looking dejected.

Asadullah Sheikh, who hails from from Malda in West Bengal, said, We have already spent our savings during the first phase of the lockdown. We have nothing to eat now, we just want to go back at our native place, the government should made arrangements for us.

Another labourer, Abdul Kayyun, said I am in Mumbai for last many years but have never seen such a situation. The government should start trains to shift us from here to our native place.”

Hundreds of migrant workers took to the streets of Mumbra town in Thane district on Tuesday, demanding that they be sent to their hometowns in light of the COVID-19 lockdown, which has rendered them jobless.

Workers, mostly from Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, who live in rented accommodations, claimed that houseowners were demanding rent from them and they were unable to procure essentials.

Tuedays’s protests came days after violent protests by migrant workers in Surat who were demanding that they be sent to their native places.

Also read: Homeless with no income, migrant labourers wish they had left Delhi before the lockdown


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular