Bandra Migrant crisis: Crowd gathered from nearby slums, unhappy over meals provided

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The primary investigation by Mumbai Police in connection with the incident that happened at Bandra in Mumbai on Tuesday showed that most of the people at the spot were residents of slums located close to the spot.

Police investigation and analysis multiple footages indicate that most of the persons or workers, who had gathered were residents of the same locality.

They came out and gathered outside the lanes and then when police tried to disperse them, they went back into their shanties.

The primary reason behind the incident — other than the fake news of train services for migrants workers promoted on social media — was that the workers were upset with the meals being provided to them.

Meals provided by authorities and NGOs are generally rice-based items like khichdi, pulao or dal rice, which are prepared in bulk and packed in small boxes and then distributed in respective areas.

“We have learnt from sources on the ground several migrant workers residing in the area were getting meals in packets, mostly pulao or khichdi, but they wanted to have meals consisting of rotis and chapatis (flat wheat bread) instead of cooked rice,” said a senior officer privy to investigation requesting anonymity.

“They had been demanding raw ration but they didn’t get that. Also, they had been regular in touch with their families in their native place who asked them to return as early as possible, which led to further disturbance and restlessness amongst the migrant workers,” he added.

“They (migrant workers) came together to protest thinking that this could build pressure on the government and some trains could be started for them so that they could reach their respective native places.”

Another angle under probe by police considered is the viral video where some persons can be heard asking people to protest; those persons are yet to be identified.

Mumbai Police analysed the video, which shows a man telling another individual about some time slot being given and asking why people have arrived early. It was decided that people have to say that they want to go to their villages or they should be given Rs 15,000.

Now, police have started questioning the locals to get details of the persons heard talking in the video.

As of now, police said that it does not look that any political intervention resulted in the protest, but all possible angles are under scanner.

Crime branch teams are also using ground intelligence to trace those who were heard provoking and inciting the crowd to protest and also demand money.

The Maharashtra cyber unit has identified over 30 accounts on various social media and online platforms that were involving disseminating false information regarding the start of train services on April 15.

Also, it was Maharashtra cyber unit that zeroed in on the regional television news channel which had aired the fake information of special trains being run for migrant labourers.

The cyber wing identified all persons and entities responsible for spreading such rumours and informed the concerned police teams including Mumbai Police and crime branch.

A Facebook post and few Youtube videos posted by a person named Vinay Dubey were identified by cyber wing and action was initiated by Bandra police with help of Navi Mumbai Police.

Cyber wing officials also traced residential details of Dubey and shared the information with Mumbai Police, which was then passed to Navi Mumbai Police.

Acting on the information, Navi Mumbai Police with help of local intelligence reached Dubey’s residence and detained him.

Dubey was later handed over to Navghar police station in Mulund, following which he was handed over to Bandra police.

Dubey was booked for inciting migrant workers by telling them to start walking towards their native places while the news channel’s reporter was booked for spreading false information.

The reporter also has been booked and will be produced in court on Thursday. Dubey was sent to police custody till April 21.

The Bandra police will produce the ten others including the journalist arrested for running fake news regarding the special trains for migrants from Maharashtra at Bandra court on Thursday.

Other than the journalist, nine others who have been arrested were part of the protesting group that assembled at the said spot in Bandra.

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