After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a lockdown extension till May 3, a massive crowd gathered near Bandra station in Mumbai after a rumour broke out that long-distance trains were running. This expresses the frustration among migrant labourers as they are away from their families without a job, a home and no money to sustain a living.
They said that they are not ready for the lockdown till May 3, which was announced by the PM earlier today.
There were reports about a local news channel showing that special trains have started departing from Mumbai. No such notification was issued by the Indian Railways. Later, the same channel made the breaking news of people collecting at Bandra.
Lockdown ignites protest by migrant workers
Most of these people are living in makeshift spaces and they do not know for how long they will be able to live like this. Most of them have not washed themselves for days as they do not have money to buy soap.
These people who had gathered to get back to their hometowns were also demanding to arrange transport for them to get back to their home and be with their families as they lost their jobs and had no money to sustain a living in a place like Mumbai.
The lockdown has brought trains to a halt and sealed state borders, sparking some isolated protests by migrant workers. It clearly seems that these people had gathered to protest but the govt is hushing up the matter saying that they were there because of rumours that trains have resumed in Mumbai.
Almost all of them now depend on free meals being offered by NGOs, charities and the govt.
Reports state that another rumour was making rounds that free ration was being distributed and this made the matter even worse for the police and the administration as it was a mob-like situation. The majority of the crowd consisted of migrant workers who were keen to return to their villages.
According to Bandra East MLA Zeeshan Siddiqui, these people were urged to go back from where they had come to Bandra after assurance that the Govt has stated that daily-wagers will be employed eventually with some relaxation in tow.
The scenario was tense for nearly two-and-a-half hours as individuals sat at Bandra bus depot, which is close to Bandra Railway Station. Also, the Mumbai police had to do lathi-charge on these people for dispersing them.
Bandra West MLA Ashish Shelar showed concerns that how could a crowd of this strength gather at one place and how were they allowed to reach the bus depot. He added that everyone needs to be clam at this situation and keep patience to carry on with the lockdown.
PM Modi had addressed the nation at 10 am on Tuesday and he had announced a lockdown extension, however, stating that areas and regions that adhere to the lockdown fully and report a decrease in the number of cases will eventually see some relaxation in the lockdown from April 20 and daily wage earners will also see things moving so that they could carry on with their work for which the govt will issue detailed guidelines tomorrow.