The Mumbai Police on Wednesday arrested 25 migrant workers, who were crowded into a mini truck and on their way to Uttar Pradesh, from Santacruz suburb, PTI reported. The labourers, all residents of Bhaiyya Wadi in Santacruz, were upset that the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, originally till April 14, had been extended to May 3.

A police official said a patrolling team intercepted the vehicle in Meera Baugh area of Santacruz early on Wednesday morning. “Police found 25 men, all migrant workers, crammed inside the mini truck and brought them to police station,” he said.

The police officer said the workers are daily wage labourers who earn their living in Mumbai by doing odd jobs. The labourers had each paid Rs 1,500 for the trip from Mumbai to Uttar Pradesh, he added.

“We have arrested 25 labourers and the tempo driver Pralhad Yadav,” Santacruz Police Station Senior Inspector Shriram Koregaonkar said. “All of them hail from Uttar Pradesh. We are looking for the tempo owner.” Koregaonkar said that though the migrants were getting food, they wanted to go back to their hometowns.

The incident came a day after a huge crowd of migrants gathered outside Bandra railway station in Mumbai, hoping to board trains to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The police used batons to disperse them. At least a dozen police vehicles and scores of police personnel had been deployed at the site. The police claimed that the workers dispersed after they were assured food and shelter by the administration.

The Mumbai Police on Wednesday filed three first information reports in the Bandra case. On Tuesday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had issued an appeal to all migrant workers, asking them to stay put in the state.

India has so far recorded 11,933 cases of the coronavirus, of which 2,687 have been reported from Maharashtra alone, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

However, the state government has said that 2,801 people have been infected in Maharashtra. Of the cases reported in the state, a majority have come from Mumbai.

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