Headlines April 16, 2020
Man who incited migrants to gather at Mumbai city station arrested
A man who allegedly started the rumours that led to thousands of migrants gathering at Mumbai’s Bandra station on Tuesday evening has been arrested. He has been identified as Vinay Dubey, who calls himself a labour leader. Dubey put out many posts around a campaign called “Chalo Ghar Ki Ore (let’s go home)” instigating migrants who are stranded in the city due to the coronavirus lockdown and are desperate to return to their native villages.
The police is investigating whether his posts on Twitter and Facebook were potentially responsible for the rumours that drove hundreds to Bandra despite the lockdown and precautions for social distancing. The police eventually had to do a lathicharge. The migrants were mostly from Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
In a video that Dubey is heard asking the government to organise a journey home for the migrants, since the lockdown “will be over on April 14″. He says”I request that after the lockdown gets over on April 14, the state government arrange trains to UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal. They can be quarantined once they get there… They are desperate here, they will die of hunger, if not from coronavirus…We will wait till 14th or 15th, if government does not do anything, I, Vinay Dubey, will start the journey with those migrants on foot…”
Dubey runs an NGO called Uttar Bhartiya Maha Panchayat and has been seen speaking about the issues faced by workers from north India in Maharashtra. Police arrested him from his home in Navi Mumbai.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has warned people not to spread rumours after the incident. He said, “Don’t play with their emotions. They are poor people. I warn you, don’t play with their emotions”. He also assured people saying, “We are with you. You are safe. I am speaking with the Centre. We are taking care of you. A lockdown is not like being locked up”.
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