Alleging that they aren’t getting ration supply or cooked food and no transport has been arranged for their return to their native states, at least 300 migrant labourers blocked Ludhiana-Delhi national highway near Dhandari Sunday and allegedly threw stones at the policemen.
At least 10 vehicles of commuters passing from the highway were damaged in stone pelting, said police.
The labourers were from nearby Sherpur, Focal Point, Dhandari and Sahnewal areas of Ludhiana. All these areas are industry-dominated and labourers work here in factories and other units.
Blocking the highway while raising slogans against the Punjab government and police, the migrants alleged that they were not getting ration or cooked food supply as promised by the administration and also there was no transportation arranged for their return to their native states. They said they had no money as factories are closed and thus they cannot buy ration.
Heavy police force was deployed on the spot and after the protesters blocked the highway, stone-pelting started. The migrants allegedly picked stones from railway tracks nearby and started throwing them at commuters and policemen. The highway was blocked for at least half an hour, following which stone-pelting happened. A cop was injured as well.
ACP (south) Jashandeep Singh Gill said that the labourers were alleging that they aren’t getting ration or cooked food. They want to return to their native states but alleged that transport wasn’t available. “They blocked highway and threw stones at police party. Vehicles, including those of commuters and police, were damaged. We are trying to identify those who started stone pelting. An FIR is being registered against those who started stone pelting and attacked the police party,” the ACP said.
Ludhiana city police commissioner Rakesh Agrawal said, “We are doing flag march in the area. We are meeting migrant leaders led by SDM and ADCP. Announcement system will be placed in the area for creating awareness about coronavirus. We are increasing ration distribution in the area and also cooked food supply will be increased to ensure no one sleeps on an empty stomach. Videography and drone coverage will be done. Counselling about trains that are in the pipeline to take migrants home will also be done once approval comes from the Central government.”
He added: “We are registering an FIR and trying to identify accused from video footage. We will identify those who started trouble and instigated the labourers because they seem to be innocent. No one will be wrongly booked.”