Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday assured migrant labourers in the state that his government would ensure that they are sent home once the lockdown is lifted.
“I give you my word that the Maharashtra government will take you to your homes, the day this crisis ends. I believe that when you go back to your homes, you should go back happily and not out of fear,” Thackeray said in a webcast.
The assurance came four days after hundreds of migrant workers in Mumbai thronged the Bandra West railway station despite the lockdown following rumours that the railways was about to start services to take stranded people home.
The workers were also protesting the extension of the lockdown. They eventually dispersed after a lathi-charge by the police.
The incident led to Union home minister calling Thackeray and telling him the protests against the lockdown weakened India’s fight against coronavirus disease and the administration needed to stay vigilant to avoid such incidents.
After the incident on Tuesday, Thackeray had assured the workers that they were safe in Maharashtra and that he and the Centre would make arrangements for their return when the lockdown ends.
The Maharashtra government also ordered a probe into how the rumour spread. The police had also arrested a journalist of a Marathi news channel which ran a story about train services to evacuate stranded workers.