Migrant workers from Bengal stage protest

They assembled at Koothattukulam demanding train to return home

Updated - May 08, 2020 12:06 am IST

Published - May 08, 2020 12:05 am IST - KOCHI/malappuram

Migrant workers from West Bengal staging a protest in Koothattukulam town on Thursday morning demanding trains to return home.

Migrant workers from West Bengal staging a protest in Koothattukulam town on Thursday morning demanding trains to return home.

Disgruntled migrant workers from West Bengal, numbering over 500, took out a protest march to Koothattukulam town along the eastern suburbs of Kochi on Thursday morning demanding trains to return home.

When the police stopped them, they laid siege to the road near the private bus stand. The police had to resort to caning to disperse them around 7.30 a.m. More migrants who were on their way to the town were stopped on their tracks and turned away by the police.

“Since there is no migrant camp in Koothattukulam town, they probably assembled a few kilometres away and marched to the town. We have reports that they were planning to march up to the police station to exert pressure for arranging a train,” the police said.

The police said they were forced to resort to caning since the migrants were not willing to see reason. “Arranging trains is obviously beyond the mandate of the police,” said a senior police officer. Following the incident, the police carried out announcements in Hindi in and around the town warning registration of cases against any such similar unlawful assembly.

Strict vigil is being maintained in Koothattukulam town after a truck driver from Tamil Nadu, who had delivered supplies in the market, was tested positive on his return earlier this month.

Protest in Ponnani

Meanwhile, migrant workers staged protests at Veliyankode and Perumpadappu, near Ponnani, demanding that they be sent home immediately. The police chased away the protesters.

The protesters demanded arrangement of more trains for them to return home. They decried the cancellation of certain special trains planned to take them back home.

A few trains had been cancelled following lack of clearance from States such as Bihar and Odisha. Officials said they were willing to send back all those who were desperate to go home, if their respective State governments were prepared to accept them.

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