In what can be seen as the first shot between Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Government and BJP-led central government, Aaditya Thackeray, Minister of Tourism and Environment of Maharashtra blamed the central government for the collapse of coronavirus lockdown in Bandra, Mumbai. He lashed out at the central government alleging that it could not decide how migrant labourers could be safely sent back to their hometowns.
"The current situation at Bandra Station, now dispersed or even the rioting in Surat is a result of the Union Govt not being able to take a call on arranging a way back home for migrant labour. They don’t want food or shelter, they want to go back home," he tweeted.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis countered Aaditya Thackeray and alleged that Maharashtra government was trying to shrug off the responsibility.
"It is unfortunate that efforts are being made to blame the central government and shrug off own responsibility. It is unfortunate more so if you are trying to run away from the situation. Fight against coronavirus is not political. I request you to sincerely consider this," said Fadnavis in his tweet in Marathi.
A crowd of more than a thousand people, mainly migrant workers from other states gathered near Bandra station in Mumbai. The rush started after a rumour spread that trains had begun running. The migrant workers then made a beeline to Bandra station and Bandra bus depot in an apparent attempt to use transportation to travel back home. The situation remained tense of more than two hours and police even had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse part of the crowd.
After some coercion by police and requests from community leaders, the crowd dispersed. However, this serious collapse of coronavirus lockdown may result in the spread of infection in Mumbai that has already seen 111 COVID-19 deaths so far.