Police tighten vigil to check smuggling

Vehicles transporting daily-wage labourers intercepted at four locations on Sunday

Following four attempts at smuggling people to their home towns, despite the lockdown, being busted on Sunday, the Mumbai Police have stepped up vigilance across the city.

The smuggling bids, where daily-wage labourers from various parts of the city were found crammed into trucks or tempos, had come to light during routine nakabandis. The police counselled the labourers, and arrested and booked the owners and drivers of the vehicles.

Police officers said while there had been sporadic attempts over the past week, Sunday’s incidents was an indicator of the rising panic.

“We have stepped up nakabandis and bandobast. We are also visiting areas where daily-wage labourers from other States stay in large numbers and are holding counselling sessions to assure them that solutions to their problems are being worked upon,” Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Pranaya Ashok said.

Mr. Ashok said the main concern for the labourers is to get two square meals a day, as their subsistence depends on the money they earn on a day-to-day basis. “We are in touch with various agencies like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and local NGOs so that relief can be arranged for them at least on a temporary basis.”

Police personnel said local informants are being tapped for tip-off on any such attempts.

“Such rackets rely only on word-of mouth publicity and we are tapping all our informants in the labourer circuit and related fields so that we can foil any such bids,” an inspector-rank officer at a suburban police station said.

The first racket was busted by the Saki Naka police in the early hours of Sunday, where 64 labourers were found in a truck bound for Uttar Pradesh. The next incident was at Sewri in the evening, where two tempos carrying 59 people were intercepted. The Andheri and Charkop police rescued 17 and 75 labourers from tempos at night.

In all the cases, the drivers and owners were booked for disobedience of an order promulgated by a public servant and negligence likely to spread infection of a disease under the Indian Penal Code along with sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act.

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