Mumbai News

Mumbai migrant crisis: How the chaos unfolded at Bandra station | Timeline – India Today

On Tuesday (April 14) Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an official announcement extending the 21-day nationwide lockdown initiated on March 25, to May 3, 2020. The objective of this lockdown is to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus which has claimed over 350 lives across the country to date.

The state of Maharashtra remains the worst affected with more than 2,300 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 160 virus-related deaths, both figures higher than any other Indian state. The city of Mumbai has been identified as the epicentre of the outbreak in Maharashtra.

Later on Tuesday after the prime minister’s announcement, hundreds of migrant labourers gathered outside the Bandra railway station in Mumbai and on the streets of Mumbra in Thane on the outskirts of Mumbai city. The Mumbai Police responded to reports of the gathering and arrived at the spot only to resort to lathicharge to disperse the huge crowds.

Mumbai Police is also filing an FIR in this regard under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. Sections pertaining to rioting will also be added in the FIR.

Migrant labourers outside Bandra railway station in Mumbai at around 4 pm on April 14 (Photo Credits: PTI)

Multiple reports have suggested that the migrant labourers who assembled in Bandra on Tuesday were demanding that they are allowed to return to their native homes since they had run out of food and other essential amenities owing to the Covid-19 outbreak and the lockdown that followed. Here is a timeline of the events that transpired in Mumbai’s Bandra area on April 14.

2 pm: Migrant labourers start gathering at the bus station near Bandra railway station prompting Mumbai police to rush to the spot

3 pm: The crowd of migrant labourers started to swell despite police presence

3:15 pm – 3:30 pm: Mumbai Police personnel entered a mosque near the spot of the gathering and appealed to the people to return to their homes

3:30 pm: The migrant labourers demanded food, a tempo with ration was brought and ration was being distributed to the people (over 50 packets of ration were given to people); Police then used loudspeakers to disperse the crowd and even took the help of local community leaders but the migrant labourers refused to leave

3:45 pm: An emergency call was made and all senior officers of the Mumbai Police arrived at the spot

5 pm: Mumbai Police resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd

5:30 pm: Heavy police deployment seen in the area following the incident

A much similar situation has come to light from Surat in Gujarat where migrant labourers had to be dispersed by the police after they gathered at a spot in large numbers and demanded that they are allowed to return to their native homes. Since the nationwide lockdown on March 25 of this year, labourers have also been seen gathering at the Delhi-UP border after which they were provided buses to return to their homes.