Thousands of people lined up outside police stations across Hyderabad on Wednesday as authorities began issuing a 'one-time pass' to those who wished to travel to their hometowns. Telangana, like the rest of India, is presently under lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rush was seen on the first day of the 21-day national lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
In the jurisdiction of SR Nagar and Panjagutta police stations alone, about 3,000 people were given one-time passes for leaving Hyderabad in their personal vehicles.on Wednesday, according to a press statement.
Many of them were students, who had lined up for kilometers without maintaining any social distancing in front of the police stations. Videos of students standing in long queues are also being widely circulated on social media. In one of the videos, students were saying that their hostels were asking them to vacate immediately and they were left with no choice but to leave. Some others said their hostels were already shut and they did not have any source of food either.
Areas such as Kukatpally, Madhapur , Dilsukhnagar, Punjagutta, Ameerpet, Tarnaka and SR nagar are dominated by hostels and Paying Guest (PG) facilities. These areas have students from other districts in the state and also from neighboring Andhra Pradesh, who come to Hyderabad for jobs and studies. Due to this, a heavy rush was seen in the police stations in these localities.
This is the situation at SR nagar police station. We wr asked to vacate the Hostel/PG's all of suddenly. There is a country wide lockdown and no transportation is available. Where is social distancing? How do we go? There are thousands of students&techies. @KTRTRS @TelanganaCMO pic.twitter.com/kXIs76Qeq3— Swathi R (@SwathiReddy_R) March 25, 2020
Thousands of students & employees gather at police stations in #Hyderabad to get permission to leave Telangana & travel to #AndhraPradesh. This after their hostels asked them to vacate or refused to serve food because of the lockdown. No social distancing followed. #COVID2019 pic.twitter.com/WncoEQLEg0— Paul Oommen (@Paul_Oommen) March 25, 2020
A written permission is being given to students, with details such as the name of the person, age and the name of the police station, vehicle number and the destination that the person has to reach. The letters are being signed by the respective inspectors.
There were also certain rules and regulations set in place before giving permission. The students were asked to cooperate with the police, to carry authorised valid proof and the vehicle driver should not carry any persons in return journey.
While permissions were initially not given, the Commissioner of Police later instructed officials to give one-time passes for those who are in need.
With thousands coming out on to the streets, authorities later spoke to the managements of hostels and asked them not to evict their residents. Authorities ensured that there will be enough supplies to provide for the hostels.
DGP Telangana: "Strict action would be taken on those hostel or PG managements who are pressurising inmates to vacate the premises during the lockdown period." If any hostel is doing so contact your locality police station (Numbers will be in Google) #21daylockdown #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/WPQIcMbN3q— Rajeswari Parasa (@ParasaRajeswari) March 25, 2020