Two Bengaluru Activists Who Helped Migrants Get Train Tickets Booked After Builders Complain

For representation only: Karnataka workers demanding the state government to send them back to their native places. (Image: ANI)

For representation only: Karnataka workers demanding the state government to send them back to their native places. (Image: ANI)

The charge of provocation to cause riots has been levelled against the workers allegedly for helping the migrant workers.

Stacy Pereira
  • CNN-News18 Bengaluru
  • Last Updated: May 9, 2020, 1:11 PM IST
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Two activists, who are also members of the organisation 'Swaraj Abhiyan', were booked after they tried to assist construction workers in Bengaluru book train tickets to return to their rural homes amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Kaleemulla and Zia Nomani were booked on Friday under sections 153 (provocation with intent to cause riots) and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code after a complaint was filed by builders.

According to Nomani, Swaraj Abhiyan had been helping construction workers at the BL Kashyap Labour Camp by providing food and ration ever since the lockdown began.

"When the labourers got to know that trains were leaving for their home towns, they wanted to go back. We decided to help them by taking down their names in order to register through the 'Seva Sindhu' app. But yesterday (Friday), two policemen came to us and informed there was a complaint filed against us."

The complaint was filed by the builders under whom the labourers worked. It said that the two were trying to "provoke workers" to leave the city and act against their employers.

However, the police were not able to take Nomani and Kaleemulla to the station as the labourers protested against the action. "Who would bring us food, if they are arrested," they asked.

They later agreed to visit the Sampigehalli Police Station the following day to contest the charges levelled against their helpers.

The Karnataka Government had on Wednesday cancelled Shramik trains leaving from the state as it wanted migrant labourers to stay back, in the hope that industries would start with the easing of the lockdown. The decision was also taken at the behest of the builder lobby.

With news of trains cancelled, many migrants had started walking towards their home towns. Facing pressure, the government made a U-turn and revoked its order.

The train services resumed on Friday, as the state nodal officer wrote to nine other states requesting permission to prepare for the arrival of migrants. Three trains - one for Bihar and two for Uttar Pradesh - ferrying 1,200 passengers left from Malur and Chikkabanavara Stations respectively.

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