Mumbai migrant crisis: How it all started?
When the world is fighting with the coronavirus pandemic and people are practising social distancing to contain the spread of the highly contagious virus, more than 1,000 migrant workers mainly from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal gathered outside the railway station at Bandra.
These workers demanded transportation to go back to their respective hometowns as they have no work and money to pay the rent to the slumlords. Hours after Prime Minister's announcement about the extension of the lockdown till May 3, thousands of migrant workers gathered defying the lockdown.
Migrant workers gathered in large numbers on a rumour which claimed that the special trains will be arranged to take the migrant workers back home. The protest at Bandra started at 3:45 pm when large groups of people began to emerge around the railway station. The crowd of few turned into thousands of people within minutes. The crowd gathered in huge number outside the Bandra station by 4 pm.
A TV journalist, Rahul Kulkarni has been detained for allegedly flashing incorrect news that trains would restart. As per the news report by ABP Majha, the letter written by a South Central Railway official on April 13 on a proposal for Jansadharan special trains.
Another FIR has been registered against the activist Vinay Dubey for spreading rumours. Vinay allegedly instigated migrants through his Facebook page to gather near railway stations to board trains. He was detained by police the following day. He also threatened a huge protest by migrant labourers in Mumbai on April 18.
Vinay Dubey uploaded a video on his social media account in which he demanded the Maharashtra government to make arrangements for migrants who are stranded due to the coronavirus lockdown. He also tweeted about the issue and called for a national-level protest if the government doesn't make any special arrangements till April 18 to ferry migrants workers to their respective hometowns.
As per the police, Vinay is a self-proclaimed leader and is booked under Sections 117, 153 A, 188, 269, 270 and 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and The Epidemic Diseases Act. He will remain in custody till April 21.
Police were successful in dispersing the crowd by 5.45 pm. As per the police officials, it was an unorganized and leaderless crowd. The police with the help of BMC officials and NGOs called the foodgrain trucks. Some queued to collect the food packets while others objected the distribution. The group stated that they would not leave until they are given an assurance about the return to their hometowns. After a few minutes, the crowd started jostling for the food packets and police lathi-charged to get the situation in control.