Coronavirus lockdown | Migrant workers returning to Bihar jump off trains to flee isolation

Most of those returning to Bihar want the government to allow them to isolate themselves at home

Updated - May 28, 2020 12:33 pm IST

Published - May 27, 2020 11:07 pm IST - PATNA

Migrant workers wait outside a government school in east Delhi on May 18, 2020 to get screened before boarding buses to the Anand Vihar Railway Station.

Migrant workers wait outside a government school in east Delhi on May 18, 2020 to get screened before boarding buses to the Anand Vihar Railway Station.

Migrant workers returning to Bihar are jumping from trains to escape the 14-day mandatory quarantine.

On Tuesday, 350 migrants returning from Delhi and Patiala pulled the alarm chain at two different places and jumped off the Shramik Special trains. Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel and local villagers, however, caught 180 of them.

Migrant workers | Video of baby with dead mother in Bihar railway station goes viral

“They are jumping ahead of their destination. We convince those we manage to detain that it is necessary not only for themselves but also for their family members,” said an RPF official at the Danapur railway station, near Patna.

A large number of migrants on board the Shramik Special from Delhi’s Anand Vihar to Purnia in northeast Bihar deboarded near the Ranibagh railway crossing. While around 150 managed to escape, around 250 migrants were caught by the local villagers who then informed the RPF personnel. They were taken to quarantine centres, but some more managed to flee.

Also read: Migrants workers try to escape from running train in Odisha

In another incident, migrant workers stopped the Shramik Special from Chandigarh to Gaya district somewhere in Sasaram district and 24 are believed to have escaped, said an official. A senior ECR railway official said this was now happening often. “Sometimes they are caught, sometime they manage to escape,” he said.

Lakhs of migrant workers returning home are refusing to be quarantined near their homes. “ How can we be away from our family for 14 days after all the trouble we went through?” asked Mahendra Sahni from Muzaffarpur.

On Tuesday, some policemen in Nalanda district were injured in a clash with inmates of a quarantine centre at Gurukul Vidyalaya in Katrahi. The enraged migrants were demanding better food and facilities. Similar protests and clashes have been reported from several other centres too.

Also read: A question of quarantine: On migrant workers and other travellers

Meanwhile, the State Disaster Management Department has said that only migrants coming to Bihar from Surat and Ahmedabad in Gujarat; Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra; Delhi; Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Noida in Uttar Pradesh; Kolkata in West Bengal; Gurugram in Haryana; and Bengaluru in Karnataka will be housed at the quarantine centres. The others would be asked to home quarantine themselves.

Over 12 lakh migrants have so far returned to different districts of the State and another 27 lakh have registered with the government and are waiting for their turn.

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