Hundreds of migrant workers employed at a construction site on the Indian Institute of Technology’s Hyderabad campus on Wednesday attacked officials of the construction companies, demanding wages and permission to go home amid the nationwide lockdown, PTI reported. The angry workers also threw stones at a police vehicle and injured three policemen.
Nearly 2,400 workers from 10 different states have been employed by two companies at the construction site. The labourers alleged that they had not been paid wages for the month of March and were told to resume work from Wednesday.
“A mob of protesting workers initially assaulted some officials of the construction companies and when a police team went to the spot some of them hurled stones at police and damaged glasses of a police vehicle,” Sangareddy District Superintendent of Police S Chandrashekar Reddy told the news agency. “Additional police force was rushed to the area and the situation has been brought under control.”
Sangareddy District Collector M Hanumantha Rao told PTI that the management of the construction companies have assured the protesting workers that they will be paid their outstanding wages by Thursday evening, after which they agreed to resume work.
Struggling to make ends meet amid the lockdown, lakhs of migrant workers are demanding permission to go back to their hometowns. On Tuesday, workers in Gujarat’s Surat city vandalised the office of a construction site after the contractors allegedly brought in more labourers from other parts of the state to speed up the work. Earlier this month, thousands of migrant workers had gathered in Mumbai’s Bandra suburb to protest, demanding transportation arrangements to go back to their hometowns.
The Centre on Wednesday directed the states and Union Territories to allow inter-state movement of stranded people, including migrant workers. In an order, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that all such people must be screened for Covid-19 at their “source and destination” and must be quarantined on arrival.
The number of coronavirus cases in India has risen to to 31,787, according to data from the Union health ministry. Over 1,000 people have died of Covid-19 in India.