Message brings hundreds of migrants on road in Kerala, police say it’s fake
The message said that Kerala government is arranging for buses to take the migrants to their hometowns during lockdown; it took three hours for the police to convince the migrants that the message is fake.Updated: Mar 30, 2020 11:10 IST
The police in Kerala are facing a peculiar problem while trying to ensure that the 21-day lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus disease is successful.
A message is being circulated among the migrant labourers in the state, telling them about trains being arranged by the government to send them home. The message led to 2000 labourers hitting the road in Kottayam on Sunday seeking trains to their homes in West Bengal and Odisha.
It took three hours for the police to convince these labourers that the message is fake; the cops also informed the labourers that trains will resume only after the lockdown is over.
According to the police, such fake messages were circulated in north Kerala, particularly in Kozhikode and Malappuram. They have launched investigation and have even arrested one person in Malappuram for spreading such messages.
The state government has deployed cops in large numbers in Kozhikode to avert assembling of workers. In fact, the government has made arrangements to make announcements in their local languages asking the labourers to not believe in such messages.
The police have warned strict action against those who spread such fake messages.
Kerala is home to at least 25 lakh migrant workers mainly from West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha. It is the first state in the country to report coronavirus cases. Kerala has 202 positive cases, and nearly 1.5 lakh people are under observation. The coronavirus disease has claimed one life in the state.
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown, highways across the country have teemed with people walking hundreds of kilometres with their belongings. While stranded migrants cited the shortage of money and food as reasons for leaving big cities, health experts warned that an exodus could run contrary to the purpose of the lockdown - breaking the chain of infections.
On Sunday, the Centre asked state governments and Union Territories to “effectively seal” state and district borders to stop the movement of the migrant workers. Those who have already reached their destinations will be put in 14-day quarantines for violating the lockdown to make sure they haven’t contracted the infection.