Thousands of migrant workers gather at Mumbai’s Bandra station seeking a way to go back home

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Thousands of migrant workers gather at Mumbai’s Bandra station seeking a way to go back home
  • They assembled at Bandra railway station demanding transport arrangements to go back to their native places.
  • Daily wage workers have been rendered jobless ever since the lockdown was announced late last month, making their life a constant struggle.
Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extension of the Coronavirus lockdown till May 3, a large number of migrant workers came out to protest onto Mumbai streets. They assembled at Bandra railway station demanding transport arrangements to go back to their native places.

Daily wage workers have been rendered jobless ever since the lockdown was announced late last month to stem the spread of COVID-19, making their life a constant struggle.

Though authorities and NGOs have made arrangements for their food, most of them want to go back to their native places to escape the hardships brought on by the sweeping curbs.

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According to a police official, daily wage earners, numbering over 1,000 assembled at suburban Bandra (West) bus depot near the railway station and squatted on the road at around 3 pm.

The daily wage earners, who reside on rent in slums in the nearby Patel Nagar locality, were demanding transport facilities so that they can go back to their towns and villages. They hail from states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

One of the labourers, who did not reveal his name, said that NGOs and local residents are providing food, but they want to go back to their native states. "Now, we don’t want food, we want to go back to our native place, we are not happy with the announcement (extending the lockdown)," he said, looking dejected.

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Thousands of migrant workers gather at Mumbai’s Bandra station seeking a way to go back home


Asadullah Sheikh, who hails from Malda in West Bengal said, “We have already spent our savings during the first phase of the lockdown. We have nothing to eat now, we just want to go back to our native place, the government should make arrangements for us,” he said.

Another labourer, Abdul Kayyun, said, “I have lived in Mumbai for many years but have never seen such a situation. The government should start trains to shift us from here to our native place."

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Large number of police was deployed at the protest site to tackle untoward incidents. Personnel from other police stations were called at the spot to maintain order, the official said.

(with PTI)
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