Restless in Locked Down Telangana, Migrant Workers Injure Policemen, Vandalise Vehicle at IIT Hyderabad

Hyderabad: A police vehicle was vandalised and some personnel injured as nearly 1,600 migrant labourers stranded in Telangana after coronavirus lockdown resorted to violence on Wednesday at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad.

The incident occurred at the construction sites on IIT campus at Kandi in Sangareddy district when the migrant workers from different states began their protest, but were soon asked to join work. The labourers refused to resume work until they were paid wages for the last four months and were sent back to their homes.

As the tension escalated, the protesters threw stones at the police. Some were reported to have sustained minor injuries, while a police vehicle was damaged, an official said.

Soon, additional forces were rushed to the area and the situation came under control after district SP Chandrasekhar Reddy began talks with leaders of the labourers, who hail from states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The officer took them to Collector M Hanmanth Rao, who promised the workers timely salaries and help.

The situation was finally resolved after the construction company agreed to pay wages for March on Thursday without any deductions towards Goods and Services Tax (GST).

According to reports, the district officials also agreed to provide fresh vegetables and other essentials to the workers. Talks will be later on whether they want to join the work or return home after the lifting of the lockdown.

Police said that 1,600 workers were working at a site by L&T, while over 800 were engaged in construction at another site where the work is being executed by Shapoorji Pallonji.