Trouble at borders as migrants protest at being stopped from entering UP

CM asks administration to treat migrants with empathy

Shahira Naim

Tribune News Service

Lucknow, May 17

Overwhelming numbers of home-bound migrants have blocked highways and clashed with the police at several places since Saturday as the Yogi Aditynath government had ordered complete sealing of state borders preventing them from walking on highways, railway tracks or entering in overloaded trucks and other unsafe modes of transport.

Following the Aurraiya accident that killed 26 migrants on Saturday, CM Yogi reiterated his earlier instruction not to allow any migrant to enter the state on foot, by cycle, cart, truck or other unsafe mode of transport.

He had also directed the administration of border districts to treat the migrants with empathy, provide them food, drinking water and arrange for buses to take them home.

However, uproarious scenes were witnessed at several entry points in the state as the number of migrants wanting to enter UP far exceeded the available buses to ferry them to their respective destination or food to feed them.

More than 2,000 migrants had blocked the Mathura-Agra Highway in Raipura Jat area under Farah police station demanding adequate arrangements by the state government to send them home in different districts of the state.

Early this morning, some of them set ablaze jelly cans on the highway as they were angry charging the state government of failing to arrange for transport and now not even allowing them to walk home.

According to the office of SSP Gaurav Grover, they were stopped at the border and made to stay overnight at a local college building before arrangement for their further travel by the UP government buses could be made.

Tired and hungry, the migrants did not want to stop. Finally, after negotiations with the district administration they agreed. Food packets were distributed before they were sent home in 55 buses arranged by the district administration.

“It is an ongoing process. People are continuously coming and buses are being arranged as they arrive,” said the Mathura police PRO.

Since Saturday evening thousands of migrants returning from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh were stopped at the Raksa Jauhariya border in Jhansi on the Madhya Pradesh-UP border causing a 10-km long jam.

While the district administration had assured the migrants to make arrangements for buses the process of arranging was slow, complained the migrants.

They were not ready to get off their private vehicles to wait to board the buses being arranged by the district administration to take them home.

There was even a clash with the police where police lathi-charged them. Finally, after completing the paper work many were allowed to proceed in their vehicles while others agreed to board the government buses.

Additional chief secretary Avanish Awasthi said CM Yogi has issued clear instructions to negotiate with the migrants and at no cost allow them to enter the state on foot, cycle, trucks or other modes of unsafe transport.

He said even trains were being arranged at different points in the state like Agra, Mathura, Ghaziabad, Jhansi, Prayagraj to take the migrants home safely.

Meanwhile, Cabinet minister Siddharth Nath Singh scoffed at Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s offer to pay for 1,000 buses to bring back migrants to UP.

“Migrants are coming from states like Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan. She should send these buses to these Congress-ruled states and ask her CMs to arrange for buses to bring back workers to UP. She should understand the basic concept of logistics that migrants are not originating out of UP,” said Singh.

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