Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath’s statement on Sunday that all states will have to take permission from his administration to employ workers from his state has not gone down well with the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra. Adityanath had also alleged that the migrant workers were not being treated properly in their host states.

In response, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that migrant labourers had been “flourishing” in Maharashtra for a long time, India Today reported. However, Raut said that if Uttar Pradesh does not want to send the workers back, it was the state’s responsibility.

“It is unfortunate that the Uttar Pradesh chief minister, who we respect as a saint, is using such language,” Raut said. “For so many years Mumbai has taken care of migrant workers from all over the country. They have been taken care of and have grown. They get food and shelter here. Many of them were from Uttar Pradesh and used to live in harmony here.”

Raut said blaming Maharashtra for the plight of the migrant workers is not right because their problems are the result of bad policies by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government. “Lakhs of migrant labourers have been sent by us to Uttar Pradesh,” he said. “Those who walked on their own, those were not our responsibility that was the responsibility of the central government.”

The Centre has arranged for hundreds of “Shramik Special” trains to ferry migrant labourers back home. However, many migrants continue to walk long distances home on foot or in private vehicles. Some have died of sickness or accidents on the way.

Raj Thackeray says migrants should come in only with permission

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said that any migrant labourer coming to work in Maharashtra must do so only with the permission of the state government, the Hindustan Times reported. “The Maharashtra government needs to take such things seriously,” he said referring to Adityanath’s statements. “Any worker coming here to work should get duly registered with the government as well as local police. These workers should submit their documents and photographs as well.”

The political mudslinging comes amid a nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The lockdown, imposed on March 25, is scheduled to end on May 31. However, it has led to loss of livelihood for hundreds of thousands of people in the unorganised sector.

Maharashtra has so far reported the highest number of coronavirus cases of any state in the country. As of Monday evening, the virus had infected 50,231 people in the state, and killed 1,635.

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