Migrant workers gather near the Mangaluru Central Railway 
Station, hoping to travel back to their homes in Mangaluru.
Migrant workers gather near the Mangaluru Central Railway Station, hoping to travel back to their homes in Mangaluru.

Karnataka on Friday recorded one of the steepest spikes in Covid cases with a whopping 49 people testing positive, taking the total to 753. Bulk of the cases were reported from Davanagere (14) with most people contracting the virus from a nurse. Next came Hirebagewadi in Belagavi district (12) followed by Bengaluru Urban 7.

A worried Karnataka government had to deploy special Garuda forces in Bengaluru Urban, especially in Padarayanapura – a red zone – to implement the lockdown measures following the spurt in cases in the area. In many hot spots, autos were plying and there was rampant violation of rules.

According to Karnataka Health Department statistics, 47 per cent, or 328, of Karnataka’s total coronavirus cases originated from just 13 people. Three of the 13 patients — a 69-year-old Davanagere man, a 50-year-old Bantwala woman, and a 75-year-old Bagalkot man — have since died.

However, how these 13 individuals contracted the virus is still unclear, having no known travel history to other countries or states. This is worrying the government as it is an indicator of community spread.

Meanwhile, a huge crowd of migrant workers gathered at Mangaluru Railway station demanding trains to their states. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel and local police had a tough time managing the crowd.

As tension mounted, the police arrested their leader which led to minor skirmish.

The workers were holding placards saying ‘We Want to Go Home’. Assistant commissioner Madan Mohan tried to persuade the labourers to return and assured to make all arrangements for them until train services are arranged, but in vain.

Later, police commissioner Dr P S Harsha arrived at the spot and assured the migrant workers that travel arrangements would be made in three days. The workers urged the commissioner to make the arrangements in two days and withdrew the protest.

The workers were then sent back to their places in Derebail, Surtahkal, KPT, Nanthur and Kulur by KSRTC buses.

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