Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 3, hundreds of migrant workers gathered in various parts of the country on Tuesday demanding the authorities to make transport arrangements for them to go back to their native places amid the lockdown.
Chaotic scenes emerged from Mumbai and Surat as the local authorities and police were seen trying to control the crowd and make them understand that they cannot go back home amid the lockdown. In Mumbai, cops also had to resort to lathicharge to bring the situation under control.
According to the Mumbai police, daily wage earners, numbering around 1,000, assembled at suburban Bandra (West) bus depot near the railway station and squatted on road at around 3 pm.
Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh said, “Migrant workers who gathered near Bandra station may have thought that PM Modi had ordered the opening of state borders”.
One of the labourers told a news agency that 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.
Meanwhile, a similar situation erupted in Varachha area of Surat where hundreds of migrant workers gathered on the streets demanding authorities to make arrangements for them so that they could return to their native places. Police teams were deployed to bring the situation under control.
Notably, the extension of the 21-day lockdown till May 3 has created panic among the migrant workers. The 21-day lockdown was supposed to end on Tuesday (April 14). Amidst lack of employment and depleting savings, these workers desperately want to return home.