Bengaluru: In a strange turn of events, 19 passengers who had traveled in Rajdhani Express 02692 from the national capital chose to return back to their boarding stations as the refused to undergo compulsory institutional quarantine of 14 days as mandated by the Karnataka government.
About 543 passengers had boarded the train to Bengaluru on May 12, which arriaved at the Sangolli Rayanna Railway station on Thursday morning at 7:30 am. After they underwent the regular temparature screening upon de-boarding they were asked to choose from the 3 options of institutional quarantine prescribed by the government.
However, about 140 odd passengers from the lot started creating a ruckus, unwilling to go under institutional quarantine and starting protesting at the station. By afternoon huge crowds had gathered at the station platform as these passengers continued to put pressure on the authorities demanding to be home quarantine instead.
"At Delhi railway station it was clearly announced that they must undergo institutional quarantine in Bangalore. After this, few passengers even cancelled their tickets and went back as they did not want to be quarantined. Wait-list passengers were then accommodated. Since few of these passengers came from stops in-between they did not know about this. We tried to convince them. Few of them were convinced, few wanted to go back." said Primary and secondary Education minister and Covid-19 in-charge, S Suresh Kumar.
Those who refused to budge and demanded to be sent back were then asked to book their own return journey ticket by the railway authorities. Of the 19 who returned, 12 were from Secunderabad including two who booked their tickets online. Two from Guntakal , 4 from Ananthpur and one returned back to Delhi.
Karnataka IG police (Railways) D Roopa, tried to convince the passengers, many of whom agreed to undergo quarantine. However, for those who chose to return, arrangements were made for their tickets to return by the evening train.
Roopa wrote to the Divisional Railway Manager to make arrangement for an extra boggie in the Delhi-bound train so that these passengers could be accommodated. The Rajdhani Express train 02691 departed from Bengaluru city railway station at 08:40 pm on Thursday evening.