COVID curfew: Migrant workers returning from Maharashtra allege extortion from cops

INDORE: Migrant workers returning from Maharashtra to their native places in state including Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, are complaining of extortions at the hands of Maharashtra police, following the announcement of 15-day curfew by the Uddhav Thackeray government.

Coming to the rescue of the returning migrants, Indore’s Rau Thana police, along with an NGO, is providing refreshments to workers arriving in the city.

“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.

More than 50 migrant workers were seen near Indore bypass crammed into two loading jeeps going to Jabalpur.

Sanaullah Khan, a worker returning from Maharashtra 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.

“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.

After the Maharashtra government on Tuesday announced the imposition of Section 144 in the state from Wednesday in view of rising COVID-19 cases, many migrant workers have started returning to their native places.

The migrant workers were seen leaving for their home states at key transit points in the city including, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai.