Police lathicharge migrants as ten thousand gather at Mumbai’s Bandra station

Mumbai’s Bandra West railway station was flooded with migrant laborers who were hoping to get back home as they expected the lockdown to end on Tuesday.

The visuals from the Bandra station show a massive crowd gathered. The police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.

“When the crowd ignored several warnings to disperse, batons were used,” the police said.

The people gathered at the station are mostly daily wage laborers who are not able to earn since the government imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 25. Earlier, the lockdown was supposed to end on April 14, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday declared that the lockdown has been extended till May 3.

Mumbai has seen more than 1,500 cases of COVID-19,  more than half of the 2,300-plus cases in Maharashtra.

The daily wage earners, who originally hail from states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh were demanding arrangement of transport facilities so that they can go back to their native towns and villages.

They reside on rent in slums in the nearby Patel Nagri.

On Twitter, Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, blamed the Central government’s lack of initiative to send the migrants home.

“The current situation at Bandra Station, now dispersed or even the rioting in Surat is a result of the Union Govt 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,” he said.¬†

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