Maharashtra: 600 migrants detained near Nashik sent to quarantine

Neeraj Tiwari
mumbai migrants, migrant crisis coronavirus, migrants india coronavirus, migrant exodus, Indian express news, coronavirus news

The migrants were subsequently put up at two holding centres that the district administration had set up around Nashik city where they were provided food.

The Nashik Police on Monday intercepted five trucks with over 600 migrant workers from Mumbai and nearby areas, headed towards North India to drop them off in their home states.

The first two trucks, which were carrying a total of 67 passengers, were intercepted on Sunday night on the Nashik-Mumbai highway near Igatpuri. The crackdown continued into the early hours of Monday morning, with the police setting up a nakabandi at the spot after which three more trucks were intercepted. The total number of migrants detained was over 600.

“There have been a number of vehicles that have been apprehended by the police. These were all migrants who were planning to move towards North India. The district administration has made arrangements for their stay and food. We will be keeping them here and they will not be allowed to move till the lockdown is lifted,” Nashik District Collector Suraj Mandhare said.

The migrants were subsequently put up at two holding centres that the district administration had set up around Nashik city where they were provided food. Many migrants, however, complained that the arrangements were poor and at one instance in Vilholi the school where the migrants were put up had no electricity and many of those who were detained slept out in the open.

Many of the migrants said that they were being forced to leave Mumbai as their employers had asked them to vacate the premises where they had been staying. “I was employed in a factory and used to stay in the factory premises. We were forced to leave as the factory owner asked us to go home because of the lockdown. He had even arranged the tempo in which we left from Mumbai and said that it would drop us at our respective villages,” said 26-year-old Suraj Prajapati, a native of Uttar Pradesh.

Hours after they began on the journey, the tempo was intercepted and Prajapati’s hand was stamped with “Home quarantined”. Prajapati will now have to stay put in a quarantine shelter at Nashik for the next 14 days. Prajapati, his co-workers and truck driver Asgar Ali said that they were surprised at being stopped as they police officials at Wadpe on the Mumbai-Agra Highway had allowed them to go after allegedly taking Rs 2,000 from them.

“In Wadape police station after being stopped for more three hours they took my name and Rs 2,000 let us go. We were however stopped at Nashik. The people in the truck were taken to a nearby school. I am now waiting for instructions from the police on what I need to do,” Ali said.

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