Coronavirus outbreak: Go, rot in Maharashtra, say Gujarat cops to migrant workers

Updated: Apr 01, 2020, 07:56 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

Gujarat cops tell migrant workers who were on their way to Rajasthan after being denied entry to their native place in Western Maharashtra

The family has taken shelter at Bappa Thakkar school in Palghar. Pics/Suresh Karkera
The family has taken shelter at Bappa Thakkar school in Palghar. Pics/Suresh Karkera

Maharashtra has the highest number of Coronavirus cases, you all go there... we won't let you enter Gujarat," Gujarat police deployed at the border with Maharashtra allegedly told migrant labourers pleading to enter the state so that they can return to Rajasthan.

A family of around 40, including infants, which has a business in Udaipur, reached Panvel on March 29 by road to return to their native places in Sangli, Satara and Karad districts of Maharashtra. However, Panvel police prevented them from going further. The family then decided to drive back to Udaipur on Monday, but were stopped again; this time by the Gujarat police.

The family members alleged that Gujarat police said, "Maharashtra se aaye ho, aagey nahi jaane denge. Maharashtra mein hi sado (You have come from Maharashtra, won't let you travel ahead. Go, rot in Maharashtra),".

The family has taken shelter at Bappa Thakkar school in Palghar. Pics/Suresh Karkera

Maharashtra police officers at the border came to their rescue. "Officers suggested that we come to Bappa Thakkar school, Palghar. We have parked our vehicles and taken shelter on the school campus. Doctors have conducted health check-up too," said Bhimrao Bhosale, 62.

Bhosale said that earlier this month, their relatives had come to Udaipur to visit them, but got stuck following the lockdown. With businesses shut and a large family to feed, they obtained a written permission from the Udaipur Additional District Magistrate and left for their villages on March 28. Another member, Amrita Gurav, said, "Maharashtra cops did not stop us, but their counterparts in Gujarat did not let us travel."

mid-day saw hundreds of people, including the 40-member family, sleeping under the shade of trees at the school. "Here the chances of getting Coronavirus are high because so many are living together. Had the police allowed us to go to our native places or back to Udaipur, we would have been safe," said Pramod Gurav.

Youths distribute food to travelling workers

A group of youth from Sutarpada village in Talasari taluka have been cooking food and distributing it among the migrant workers, who are walking to their natives villages in states like Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. These good Samaritans regularly carry home-cooked food and water containers in a tempo to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway to feed the hungry and tired migrants.

Youth distribute food among the migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Youth distribute food among the migrant workers on Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway. Pic/Suresh Karkera

"We started this a couple of days back. We have also been providing biscuits and milk to people with toddlers. Every day we distribute at least 70 litres of milk. This is the least we can do to help," said Maqsood Shaikh.

"I feel sad when the migrant workers plead to help them cross the border as the Gujarat police is using full force to prevent them," said another youth, Rizwan Shaikh. A mid-day team managed to enter Gujarat and found two pitchers of water and a few glasses on the roadside. Hond village deputy sarpanch Navin Bhai Ambala said, "There is a river nearby and a couple of days back, I saw some migrants drinking river water that is not potable. That's why we have kept this here."

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