The arrests made in connection with the gathering of hundreds of migrant workers in Mumbai’s Bandra on Tuesday indicate that there was a conspiracy to disrupt the ongoing lockdown.
Given that the migrant workers themselves were conscious of the threat posed by the free-floating virus, and were equally keen to protect themselves against it as anyone else, they became the unwitting victims of a mischievous plan to hinder the containment of the pandemic.
From various news reports and social media videos it is amply clear that elements hostile towards the Modi Government had hatched the plot. Fortunately, timely intervention by the Mumbai Police helped to disperse the crowd.
It is now for the police to get at the root of the conspiracy and to punish those who spread totally false rumours about the resumption of train services. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray handled the crisis well, while his son and Tourism Minister Aditya displayed immaturity, blaming the Centre for the impromptu assembly of migrants in Bandra.
Uddhav publicly reiterated on Tuesday that he had called for the extension of the lockdown to fight the coronavirus at the PM’s video-conference with the chief ministers. His was a correct stand, not allowing partisan concerns to undermine the on-going fight against the pandemic. What the Bandra incident shows is that the need to protect people from conspiratorial and mischievous rumour-mongering cannot be exaggerated.