Addressing a press briefing on Wednesday, senior Congress leader and Maharashtra PWD Minister Ashok Chavan blamed the internal communication of the Railways for causing the panic among migrant workers leading to the Bandra incident. He quoted the letter written by the Chief Commercial Manager, South Central Railway. He contended that it was very difficult to control the crowd. Terming this incident as "very serious", Chavan opined that a department of the Union government should not have issued such a letter.
Ashok Chavan remarked, "As far as the Bandra station matter is concerned where a crowd gathered, I want to tell that I have a letter dated April 13 written by the Chief Commercial Manager, South Central Railway. It has been written- During the video conference held on April 13, it is decided to run Jansadharan trains for clearing special passengers- migrant labour of unreserved segment. This news went viral that trains are going to run from April 14 despite the PM's announcement. People gathered and it was very difficult to control the crowd. It is natural that a department of the government should not issue such a letter. The incident in Mumbai was very serious."
More than a thousand persons gathered near the Bandra Railway station in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon flouting the social distancing norms of the nationwide lockdown. According to former AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan, the persons were migrant workers who staged a protest demanding permission to return to their hometown. They allegedly assembled after rumours spread about the possibility of the commencement of trains. Reportedly, a journalist of a regional news channel misinterpreted an internal communication of the Railways and reported that special trains for migrants would be run.
There was also an attempt to arrange ration for the people who had gathered. However, as the chaos persisted, the police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd. Taking cognizance of the incident, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Subsequently, the latter reassured the migrant workers in his address and cautioned against the politicisation of the incident.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police registered an FIR in this matter against 800-1000 unknown accused persons. Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 149, 186(obstructing public servant in discharge of his public functions), 188 (disobedience to order promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3 (disobeying order under this Act) of the Epidemic Act have been invoked. Additionally, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh promised strict action against those indulged in rumour-mongering. On Wednesday, the television journalist who allegedly gave the incorrect report regarding the commencement of trains was detained.