At least 19 passengers who reached Bengaluru in the special New Delhi- Bengaluru superfast Express Special on Thursday morning will go back to Delhi in the same train. Unlike hundreds who came in the train with them, these passengers were unwilling to be put in 14-day institutional quarantine. In Karnataka, all interstate and international passengers are required to go on 14-day institutional quarantine as per the latest standard operating procedure.
People who travel from other states or from abroad can opt for free quarantine at schools, colleges etc arranged by the government or they can choose to stay in hotels arranged nearby, but need to pay accordingly.
The group of passengers claimed that they were not informed by authorities in Delhi that institutional quarantine was mandatory once they reached Karnataka.
While some media reports claimed that a section of passengers indulged in minor violence, D Roopa Moudgil, Inspector General of Police, Railways (Karnataka), denied this. She told TNM that the situation was dealt with amicably.
The passengers will go back to Delhi in an extra coach attached to the train scheduled to leave Bengaluru for New Delhi at 8:30 pm.
The additional coach was readied by the railways after Roopa Moudgil wrote to AK Singh, General Manager, South Western Railways.
â€śMy mandate is to follow government orders. There is no way we could allow them to leave the railway station and walk away. So we tried to reason with them and convince them. It was then that some of them said they would rather go back than stay in quarantine here. This is when I requested Mr AK Singh if he can make some arrangements as the passengers were ready to pay for the tickets,â€ť D Roopa told TNM.
â€śThis is a very unusual process but we had to make the arrangement as requested by the state police,â€ť confirmed AK Singh.
Railway officials said even at this point some people who had not left the station were contemplating whether to return to Delhi. The maximum number of passengers allowed in this coach is 72.
Karnataka Minister Suresh Kumar who is in-charge of speaking on COVID-19 related matters said, â€śIt was very clearly announced that all passengers had to undergo institutional quarantine in Bengaluru. We are sending messages via SMS also and that will be made more efficient from here on.â€ť
He added. â€śIn this incident, people who were on the waiting list may have got seats and remained uninformed. Our officers convinced a few of them and they have gone for quarantine.â€ť
Note: This article was edited after publication to reflect that 19, and not 45 passengers went back to Delhi.
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