Pawar calls Bandra incident unfortunate, urges parties to unite to defeat COVID-19

Matter of survival: Women coming out of Shastri Nagar near Bandra station on Wednesday. It is one of the areas where migrant labourers live in large numbers.  

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday termed the gathering of migrant workers outside Bandra station unfortunate, and said no such incident should occur till the country is battling the novel coronavirus.

Mr. Pawar said people assembled after someone spread a rumour that train services would resume, adding precautions need to be taken to ensure that such confusing messages are checked. “An unfortunate incident occurred outside Bandra station on Tuesday. Somebody spread the rumour that train services would resume and people gathered there. Social distancing was not observed.”

In his social media address, the former Union minister also urged political parties to desist from scoring points during the crisis, and instead work collectively to defeat COVID-19. “I would request political parties that we may fight politically but this is not the time to score over each other. It is not the time to think who is in power at the Centre and in the State. We should take steps to defeat the novel coronavirus.”

On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of migrant labourers defied the lockdown to assemble at Bandra in the belief they could be back home. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said that rumours about resumption of train services possibly led to the commotion.

Political barbs were exchanged between the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with BJP leaders claiming that the incident occurred because the State government could not provide food to the migrant labourers.

The MVA blamed a regional news channel’s report on possibility of starting of outstation trains and the Central government’s lack of response to pleas for special trains to take these labourers to their home towns.

On Wednesday, local MLA and BJP leader Ashish Shelar sent a letter to Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi blaming the State intelligence failure for the Bandra episode. He demanded an inquiry to find out who had mobilised the labourers. Mr. Shelar also rubbished the State’s claims that the labourers stuck due to lockdown were being provided with food.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 9:24:12 PM |

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