Chaos at Mumbai’s Bandra station, again, as 2,000 migrants gather to board Bihar-bound train
The railways carry a maximum of 1,700 workers in a train. As the message of the train to Bihar spread, workers started to walk towards the terminus along with their luggage, said police. While 1,700 could board, the remaining waited outside the station.Updated: May 20, 2020, 11:56 IST
In second such incident, more than 2,000 migrant workers gathered near Bandra Terminus around 11.30am on Tuesday morning to board a Bihar-bound Shramik special train.
The railways carry a maximum of 1,700 workers in a train. As the message of the train to Bihar spread, workers started to walk towards the terminus along with their luggage, said police. While 1,700 could board, the remaining waited outside the station. The police lathi-charged and dispersed the crowd by 2pm. “The train was scheduled for Purnia. Many people who were not registered and not called by the state authorities gathered on the bridge and the road leading to the station. Registered passengers were checked and allowed to enter the station. The train left Bandra Terminus around noon with 1,700 labourers and their families,” said Ravinder Bhakar, chief PRO, Western Railway.
Mumbai Police officers said the crowding was a result of rumours ranging from “the police are allowing people on the train by taking a cut” to “there is more space in train”, “cops have called labourers asking them to reach the station” and “there was a second train in the evening for Bihar”. Manjunath Shinge, deputy commissioner of police, zone 8, said, “We will investigate who spread the rumours and take appropriate action. The workers came from Dadar, Dharavi, Wadala and Mahim.” Pradeep Chavan, DCP GRP, said, “There was another rumour that a train will leave at 4pm.”
Rohit Kumar, 18, who used to work at a hotel in Sakinaka and has been unemployed for two months, said, “I came here as I wanted to go to my hometown in Bihar. Someone told me that the police will allow me on the train if I pay them some money.” Ajay Paswan, 23, from Sakinaka, a tea seller, said, “Someone said there was more space on the train.” Jabbar Ansari, 48, who sells clothes in Bandra (East), said, “There was a rumour that there was another train at 4pm and it’s on first-come-first-served basis, so I reached the railway station.” “I got a call from the police saying that I will be allowed to board the train on Tuesday and that my turn has come. The police said they would give me the details about the train, but I got no call. When I came to know about the train leaving from Bandra Terminus I came to the station. However, I could not board,” said MD Ahmed, resident of Bihar.
On April 14, hundreds of migrant workers had turned up at Bandra station, demanding trains to take them home. The Western Railway has since operated over 582 Shramik trains for migrant workers towards Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
(Inputs from Suraj Ojha)