Chandigarh: Police in Yamunanagar town in Haryana cane-charged migrant workers on Sunday who were trying to move towards the border of Uttar Pradesh some 20 km from there.
The labourers were seen running back to the shelter. Some of them left their luggage and cycles at the place and ran away.
Officials told IANS that they were allowing only those migrants to cross over to Uttar Pradesh who have been registered and staying at rescue centres set up by the government especially for them.
“A sudden influx of migrants from neighbouring states (Punjab and Himachal Pradesh) reached here and they were marching towards the Uttar Pradesh border. They were warned not to move towards home in UP, and when they tried to continue their journey, the police caned them,” an official said.
He said the migrants who were staying in the government rescue centres were taken in batches in buses after medical screening and following social distance. After crossing Haryana, they were handed over to the Uttar Pradesh authorities for their onward journey.
Uttar Pradesh has banned the entry of migrants on foot.
“We will never return here again. We have been walking from Ludhiana (in Punjab) for the past six days. Instead of helping us, the police are beating us,” a labourer said.
Another labourer said they reached Yamunanagar, some 100 km from the state capital Chandigarh, by crossing agricultural fields and the Ghaggar river and rivulets as the police were not allowing their movement on the highways and link roads.
Reacting to the police action, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala asked how much repression did the government yield on the migrants.
“The Khattar government is beating up the migrants by chasing them,” Surjewala said in a tweet.
Tagging a video clip of the incident, the Congress spokesperson mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi by saying: “The BJP came to power making promise to these people who wear ‘hawai chappals’ to fly in ‘jahaaz’ (aircraft).”