Violence erupts on Train as Migrant Workers Fight for Food

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The train carrying migrant workers to Bihar reached Satna in the afternoon when a clash broke out allegedly over distribution of food. The train had set off from Kalyan in Maharashtra with around 1,200 migrants on Tuesday.

Armed with belts, migrant workers abused and fought violently  for food inside the train as Railway Police looked on from the Platform. Some workers were injured in the clash.

A hungry worker takes a breather from the fight to complain about food not being served to them.

“I saw 24 packets of food being distributed. That whole compartment has received food. We have not received any food, people are hungry here,” the worker says in Hindi as he goes back to the fight.

A war of words soon turned to a violent fight. Workers jumped from one seat to another punching and kicking each other.

In fear of getting infected by coronavirus, Railway police officers did not intervene. They banged the train windows with sticks and tried to calm down the workers from the platform. But that didn’t stop the hungry and helpless workers.

According to the central guidelines, migrants who have been stranded due to the lockdown have to be screened for coronavirus by the state governments. Only in absence of any symptoms will they be given clearance to board the trains that are being run by the centre to ferry them to their home states.

The clash continued till they were too tired to go on.

Railway police then tried to talk to them and calm them down. The Shramik Special train then resumed its journey.

Thousands of stranded migrant labourers are being ferried by special trains across the country amid the nationwide lockdown that has been in place since March 25 to stop the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus that has affected over 50,000 people in India and killed over 1,600.

Thousands of migrants lost their jobs overnight, and were left without food or shelter. They couldn’t go home as all public transport was halted due to the lockdown.

Many had started a long walk home prompting state governments to stop them. They were put up in shelters until special trains started ferrying them home last week.