Coronavirus outbreak: Migrants desperate to go home looted in Thane
Some taxi, autorickshaw drivers and those owning cars are using the walking migrants' misery to make a quick buck
Left high and dry by the lockdown, migrants desperate to go home are now being looted by people in cars and by autorickshaw and taxi drivers. Focussing only on reaching home, they cannot even afford to go file a complaint.
Police stationed at check nakas have been getting more and more such complaints from harried walkers. Many migrants are trying to reach Thane, from where they are taking buses to reach the Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border. However, the looters have made the trip to the suburb perilous.
Mohammed Sonu, 19, hails from Uttar Pradesh and had been working at a shop in Byculla. On Tuesday, he set out for Thane on foot. He met a taxi driver willing to drop him to Thane for R1,500. "I took the cab thinking I will reach Thane in a couple of hours instead of one whole day," said Sonu. There were three other passengers. All such drivers are taking money from people upfront.
Sometime later, the driver refused to go ahead. "He said there are check posts at Vikhroli and he will be punished if he is caught. We had a verbal spat with him. He refused to take us forward and left," Sonu said. He reached Mulund on Wednesday.
Rajkumar Singh, a resident of Bharat Nagar, Bandra was left at Mulund by a cab driver. He had paid R800.
Another walker, Bunty Mishra was walking towards Thane from Mankhurd when a car offered to drop him. "The man said he will drop me at Thane for R500. I hopped in. But after barely a kilometre, a check post came and he told me to get out otherwise we will all be arrested. I did not have any option and got down. The car went away without being questioned by police," Mishra said.
Govandi resident, Vijay Kumar, was happy when an autorickshaw driver offered to drop him for R200. But a kilometre later, he too was kicked out. "He told me autos are allowed to ply and there won't be any issue. But before a check post, he told me to get down and meet him ahead of it. When I reached there, he was nowhere to be found," Kumar said.
Vijay Bhise, senior inspector of Mulund Traffic division said, "We have had such complaints. Helpless migrants are heartlessly being looted. We are checking each and every vehicle and asking drivers if they are carrying a family or passengers."
Distance the vehicles go before kicking the migrants out
Eight labourers injured in mishap
On Wednesday evening, a tempo carrying 11 migrants turned turtle at Cadbury junction in Thane. Eight labourers were injured and admitted to a local hospital. Cops on patrol rushed to help. The labourers were going to Bhiwandi from where they wanted to go to northern India. Rabodi police have registered an offence against driver for rash driving.
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