Migrant workers returning to their home states from Maharashtra are now complaining of alleged extortion by the Maharashtra Police. The migrant workers are fleeing Maharashtra mostly because of the 15-day lockdown measures imposed by the Uddhav Thackeray government.
“We are returning to our homes because there was the problem of earning livelihood after curfew announcement. I had migrated back last year also during lockdown but returned after the situation improved. This time too, like the last year, the police extorted heavily from us,” a taxi driver said.
“We are coming from Pune. There a travellers bus took Rs 2,500-3000 per ticket from them. Still, they made us get off the bus at the Maharashtra border and asked to board these two vehicles. The Police and transport department at the Border Checking Point overlooked the jeeps,” said Sanaullah Khan, a migrant worker returning from Maharashtra.
More than 50 migrant workers were located near the Indore bypass, crammed up in two jeeps on their way to Jabalpur. These workers were rescued by Indore’s Rau Thana police, along with an NGO.
“Besides food and a place to rest, doctors and medicines are also available for those who come here. If the need arises, we provided help from the hospital. People coming here are in need of food and shelter as they are were tired. That is why, with the help of the police administration we set up this tent to provide them some relief to the migrant,” said Shailesh Kumawat, a social worker.
On Tuesday, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government announced the imposition of Section 144 for the entire state in order to combat the ever-rising number of COVID-19 cases. This extreme step has caused panic in the migrant worker communities living in Maharashtra, causing them to flee the state back to their own respective states of origin due to the fear of losing their livelihoods.