Congress claims migrants detained after meet with Rahul Gandhi; police deny
The Congress on Saturday claimed that some migrant labourers were taken in preventive custody soon after their interaction with former party president Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress alleged that the police had told them they had orders to do so. The Delhi police, however, refuted the claim. “We have not detained any migrant. Rahul Gandhi came and interacted with migrants. Later, his supporters took the migrants in their vehicles,” DCP South East RP Meena said.
Gandhi interacted with the migrant workers near the flyover in Delhi’s Sukhdev Vihar hours after he spoke with journalists from the regional press. Party leaders said that Gandhi arranged for them to be sent home.
Watch | Rahul Gandhi meets migrants on road; Congress says they’re detained, cops deny
Rahul Gandhi, dressed in a white kurta and black trousers, with his face mask was seen interacting with a group of migrants. The Congress leader, sitting on the sidewalk, was seen holding a conversation with the group, which had a few women, children and men. He, according to party leaders, interacted with them for over an hour. The migrants were travelling from Ambala to Jhansi.
In a video released by the party, one of the migrants Mahesh Kumar said that a group of 13 migrants, including a child were squatting on a footpath when Gandhi came. “He asked us to speak about our problems, we told him that we do not have enough food and water. We have spent 50 days without a steady stream of work, and have worked for only 4-5 days in between,” he said, adding that Gandhi promised to make arrangements for their return.
The migrants were working at a factory at Ambala, and were waiting for their dues to be paid, said the Congress.
Congress party leaders said that Gandhi called party workers from the Delhi unit and asked them to facilitate their travel. “The DPCC workers were asked to take the migrants to the UP border, and the UP state unit has been alerted to take them to the UP-MP border. The MP unit will then take them to their homes in the Jhansi area,” a leader said.
Gandhi has been vocally critical of the government’s handling of the migrant crisis, and on Saturday tweeted about the death of 24 migrants in an accident at UP’s Auraiya.
“I am hurt by the news of the death of 24 labourers and the injuries to many people in UP’s Auraiya. I express my deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and hope the injured get well soon,” Gandhi tweeted.
Amid a nationwide lockdown, hundreds of migrants, for days together now, have been walking or hitchhiking their way to homes.
(With inputs by Karn Pratap Singh)