Hundreds of migrant labourers on Friday (May 8) thronged the Central Railway station in Mangaluru on learning that the Karnataka government would be operating special trains to their home states and demanded that they be immediately sent back, police said.
The workers, mostly from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkahand stayed put at the station and refused to disperse, despite appeals by police, who rushed to the spot, to leave.
Karnataka: Migrant workers stranded in the state amid #COVID19 lockdown, today protested at the Central Railway Station in Mangalore. The workers demanded the state government to send them back to their native places. pic.twitter.com/UwopXXag0g
— ANI (@ANI) May 8, 2020
Police quoted the migrants as saying that they were stuck in the city without jobs, money and adequate food and that they were even willing to walk to their home states if the special trains were not operated immediately.
On Thursday, the Karnataka government decided to deploy special trains from May 8 to send back the workers to their homes and sought approval of nine states for the process.
They were informed that Karnataka intended to run two trains a day to these states till May 15 for ferrying the thousands of migrant workers, stranded in the city and other districts due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
The fresh move came two days after the government withdrew its request to the railways to run special trains for the migrants within hours of making it on Tuesday. Eight special trains had ferried migrant labourers to their home states from the Bengaluru division before the cancellation.