April 14, 2020
The opposition party in Maharashtra lashed out at Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his government over instances of migrant labourers gathering on the streets of Mumbai’s Bandra and Mumbra in Thane on Tuesday. Hundreds of labourers were seen outside the Bandra railway station and in Mumbra demanding permission to return to their native homes in light of the extension of the nationwide lockdown to counter the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah called up Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday and expressed concern over the gathering of people in such large numbers in Mumbai which is at the epicentre of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 outbreak. While offering his full support to the Maharashtra government, the home minister also emphasized on how such events weaken India’s fight against Covid-19 and the administration need to remain vigilant to avoid such incidents.
“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,” Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray said. In a tweet on Tuesday, he added, “I’m thankful to PM & HM for understanding the situation, while trying to ensure the safety of home states of migrants.”
Former Maharashtra CM and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis said thousands of labourers coming on the streets is a very serious incident and is highly disturbing. “It is the duty of the state government to provide them with food and other essentials. We have been bringing it to the notice of the state government that these facilities are not being provided,” added Devendra Fadnavis who is also the leader of the opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly.
“State government should learn a lesson from this and take precautions in the future. It is even more unfortunate that the state government is shrugging off responsibility and running away from it. They should understand that the fight against coronavirus is not political and it is my request that the state government take it seriously,” Devendra Fadnavis said.
In a statement to India Today, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said that the migrant labourers who gathered in Bandra thought that the lockdown would end on April 14. “We have been able to persuade them that they will have to wait as no state borders are open yet,” added Deshmukh.
Member of Parliament from Mumbai North Central, Poonam Mahajan took to Twitter to say, “What happened at Bandra terminus is very unfortunate. As the MP, my office, BJP karyakartas and I personally have been working towards ensuring that every citizen is taken care of. But this gathering and reasons behind the panic of those gathered needs to be investigated to prevent such incidents in the future.”
Since Bandra falls in her constituency, Poonam Mahajan added, “Mumbai is a hotspot for the virus, and we are here to help every citizen – regardless of which state they are from, together with the Maharashtra CM and Mumbai Police, we should work together as a team to defeat the virus instead of indulging in politics during a national crisis.”
Kirit Somaiya, vice-president of BJP Maharashtra also took to Twitter and said, “Will Thackeray Sarkar explain How thousand people gathered at Bandra(West) near Station? What was the Intelligence doing? From where this people come? How sudenly they gather there inspite of 144? Since lockdown never Police allow more than 4 person allowed, than How & Why today?”