Beed native and BJP MLC Suresh Dhas was booked on Thursday for allegedly violating the lockdown and crossing over into neighbouring Ahmednagar district to protest the detention of migrant workers by the police.
Dhas, who lives in Beed’s Ashti town, is alleged to have driven to Khed in Ahmednagar’s Karjat taluka around 1 am on Thursday despite Beed sealing its borders to all vehicles except those transporting goods.
A senior police officer said that migrant sugarcane workers from Ashti travelling to Ahmednagar were stopped by the police at Khed village in the wee hours of Thursday and prevented from proceeding further.
“When Dhas came to know about the detention, he used some obscure routes, passing though interior villages. to reach Khed. He participated in a protest against the detention before returning to Ashti a few hours later. It is not possible for us to seal all roads,” the officer added.
The police in Beed only learnt later on Thursday that Dhas had crossed the district border bypassing checkpoints and blockades at several villages. An offence was registered at Ashti police station against Dhas under the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code for violating orders issued by the Beed district collector and for committing a negligent act likely to cause the spread of COVID-19.
Throughout the country, stranded migrant workers have been struggling to return to their home ever since all means of transport were suspended last month to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Migrant workers have been left with little choice but to walk long distances or pay private transport companies to ferry them home. In response, the state police has stepped up its scrutiny of trucks and buses travelling long distances.
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