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HYDERABAD: About 1,000 migrant workers and labours, mostly from north India, protested at Toli Chowki in Hyderabad on Sunday, demanding that they be sent back home, as their survival has become difficult without an income amid the nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.

Even though the police arrived quickly at the scene of the protest, it was initially unable to control the protestors from working. The police addressed them after settling them down.

“Some of them are seasonal workers, while others were migrants who settled here in Hyderabad some years ago. Though the state government gave migrants 500 and also rice to eat, getting by each day is proving to be difficult for them, hence they protested," said an eyewitness, who did not want to be named.

Though it was a large gathering, nobody was injured and the police did not use any force to disperse the crowd.

Instead, the police addressed the migrant workers, and noted their details. “They all wanted to go back to go their home states. Not even one person was injured. We explained them what is possible and what is not possible," said AR Srinivas, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), west zone, Hyderabad.

Prior to this, hundreds of construction workers at the new Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad site had also protested. The protest turned violent as agitating workers had reportedly attacked a personnel of Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T), the construction company carrying out the work in the campus. It was alleged that the company was delaying payment of their wages.

On 1 May, a train had carried 1,200 migrant workers stranded in Hyderabad from the city’s Lingampalli station to Hatia in Jharkhand. This was also the first train to ferry migrants amid the nationwide lockdown, which has been extended for two more weeks, starting 4 May.

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