The Delhi Police on Wednesday sealed the Bengali Market in the national capital after it emerged that 35 workers were living on the rooftop of a pastry shop, ignoring all social distancing norms, NDTV reported. The workers were taken to coronavirus quarantine shelters. Two of them who were unwell were taken to hospitals for Covid-19 testing.
A first information report has been filed against Bengali Pastry Shop & Snack Bar for endangering lives by violating the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed to break the chain of infections. However, the shop claimed that it allowed the workers to stay as they had nowhere else to go.
Tens of thousands of migrant labourers attempted to leave major cities for their villages late last month, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown on March 25. However, the Centre, fearing a spread of Covid-19 through mass contact, asked state governments to seal all borders. The labourers were to be given accommodation and food by the government near their places of work.
In a statement issued early on Thursday, the Bengali Pastry Shop & Snack Bar accused the media of spreading misinformation. In a tweet, the shop said that it had been shut since March 25, and workers from three different establishments were staying there. The shop said it had provided the labourers with food and shelter and hygienic conditions.
“The media claims are incorrect and I would like them to get their facts right and avoid confusions and miscommunications in the future,” the shop said. “We are all fighting a global issue and need to work together rather than against each other.”
The workers were discovered after a team of the New Delhi Municipal Council, along with the police, began a house-to-house survey in Bengali Market, Deccan Herald reported. Three people living in the locality had earlier tested positive for Covid-19.
New Delhi District Magistrate Tanvi Garg issued a circular on Wednesday which said that the administration screened over 2,000 people in the locality, during which the labourers were discovered, India Today reported. Garg ordered the containment of Bengali Market, Babar Road, adjoining areas of Todarmal Road, Babar Lane and School Lane. She also ordered complete sanitising of Bengali Market and action against the owners of Bengali Pastry Shop & Snack Bar.
The Delhi government had on Wednesday announced the sealing of 20 coronavirus “hotspots”. Residents of these areas will not be able to leave their homes for any reason. Bengali Market was the 21st “hotspot” to be sealed.
Delhi has so far reported 669 coronavirus cases, including nine deaths, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.