Mumbai: The city of Mumbai has recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in India. Struggling with the pandemic, Mumbai’s Bandra has now become a site for a huge protest where thousands have gathered and defied the extended lockdown.
Hundreds of migrant workers from the states Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal have gathered near the Bandra railway station demanding they be sent to native places. The migrant labourers were hoping to return as they expected the lockdown to end on Tuesday.
Thousands of people demanded authorities to arrange transport means to send them back to their hometowns. According to sources, these people aren’t ready for the lockdown extension till May 3 as they do not have food and money to survive.
Daily wage workers have been rendered jobless ever since the lockdown was announced late last month to stem the spread of COVID-19, making their life a constant struggle.
Though authorities and NGOs have made arrangements for their food, most of them want to go back to their native places to escape the hardship brought by the sweeping curbs.
The mob started gathering by 3 pm, and the situation was tensed for almost two-and-half hours as people sat at the bus depot near the Bandra Railway Station.
Heavy police deployment was made at the protest site to tackle any untoward incident. The police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd. Video footage from the area showed hundreds of people crowding, whereas government warnings about coronavirus and social distancing were forgotten.
According to a police official, daily wage earners, numbering around 1,000, assembled at suburban Bandra (West) bus depot near the railway station and squatted on the road at around 3 pm.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “The lockdown has been extended till May 3. The coronavirus should be curbed at every level. Even if one person dies due to coronavirus, our tension should increase. That is why hotspots in different regions will under surveillance with extended vigilance and harsh steps will be taken to curtail the spread of coronavirus."
Meanwhile, India has crossed the mark of 10,500 positive cases with the death toll reaching over 350. Globally, the infected cases are nearing the two million mark with almost 1.2 lakh deaths. The virus that originated in Wuhan, China, has the world in its grip with countries like the United States, Spain and Italy being the worst affected.