COVID-19: Migrant Workers Returning to UP Made to Wait at MP Border, Resort to Stone-pelting
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Times of India
Bhopal/Barwani: Over 7,000 migrant labourers who came from Maharashtra and who had been waiting for entry into Madhya Pradesh for safe passage to Uttar Pradesh for the last 72 hours turned violent on Sunday morning and reportedly pelted Madhya Pradesh Police personnel with stones.
At least three police personnel including a sub-inspector sustained injuries in Barwani district of Sendhwa area. Sub-inspector Omkar Lal sustained head injuries, while two constables sustained minor injuries.
The Barwani district administration stopped workers at Bijasan checkpoint (Barwani district) who were trying to enter Madhya Pradesh from Maharashtra via Agra-Mumbai National Highway on Saturday.
A heavy police force has been deployed at Bijasan, Sendhwa (Maharashtra-MP border) after the incident, the Barwani police said.
VS Parihar, Sendhwa rural Police Station in-charge, was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying, “All the injured police personnel were sent to hospital for treatment. An FIR has been lodged against unidentified persons for attacking the police on duty. However, no arrest has been made.”
Just like Barwani, in Datia district, which shares border with Uttar Pradesh, administration has stopped around 7,000-8,000 migrants in Johari village checkpoint on the MP-UP border after the latter state sealed borders.
On Saturday, at 8 pm, the labourers blocked Agra-Mumbai National Highway demanding opening of the border which led to a massive jam. The workers called off the road jam around midnight after assurance from the Barwani district collector who promised to speak with the UP government officials about their entry. However, they again blocked the traffic on Sunday morning after an unsatisfactory reply from the district administration. Later on, when they reportedly tried to break in, the police stopped them. Subsequently, a section of agitated labourers started pelting stones.
Briefing the media after the incident, DR Tenivar, Barwani Superintendent of Police, said that the workers have been stopped at the border after the Uttar Pradesh government denied entry to more than 1,000 stranded workers sent by the Madhya Pradesh government in 250 buses on April 30 to their home state after screening. These workers are still waiting at the borders waiting for the UP government’s instructions. As a result, the state government has asked all the bordering districts of the state to stop the UP-bound migrant labourers from entering Madhya Pradesh.
Amit Tomar, Barwani District Collector said, “We have been awaiting the state government’s instruction. However, labourers are satisfied after having a talk with us. We are providing food and other facilities to them,” he said.
After the news of extension of the lockdown, labourers from different parts of Maharashtra, which has highest cases of COVID-19 in the country have been gathering at the MP border on two-wheelers, bicycles, other vehicles, and even on foot, moving along the Agra-Mumbai National Highway, said a senior official of Barwani, adding that 90% of these workers are from UP. Due to the closure of the UP border, it is no longer possible to send them to their destination by vehicles.
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