Migrant workers gather in Mumbai’s Bandra amid lockdown; Amit Shah calls Maharashtra CM

Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extension of the COVID-19 lockdown till May 3, a large group of migrant workers who earn daily wages gathered in Bandra on Tuesday demanding transport arrangements to go back to their native places. 

The workers gathered outside Bandra station and were protesting against extension of the lockdown.

The crowd was later dispersed after the police intervened.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah called Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and expressed concern over the gathering.

He said such events weaken the country’s fight against COVID-19 and the administration needs to stay vigilant to avoid such incidents. He also offered his full support to the Maharashtra government.

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray in a tweet said, “The migrant labour issue persists everywhere. Even as we house more than 6 lakh migrant labour, with breakfast lunch and dinner, the Union and State Govts are coordinating on further relief for the same. We will continue to ensure the comfort of all migrant labour in our camps.”

“The centre has taken immediate cognizance of the issue and is assisting the State actively. We understand the catch 22 situation centre and states face. I’m thankful to PM & HM for understanding the situation, while trying to ensure the safety of home states of migrants,” he added.

Earlier, Aaditya Thackeray blamed the union government for the situation and said that it was a failure on part of the Centre for not being able to arrange a way back home for the migrant workers.

“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,” Thackeray said in a tweet.

“A mutual road map set by Union Govt will largely help migrant labour to reach home from one state to another safely and efficiently. Time and again this issue has been raised with the centre,” he said.

Maharashtra has reported highest number of COVID-19 cases -2337 with 160 fatalities.