The Vijayawada police on Saturday used force to stop a convoy of migrant workers who were walking towards their home states. Videos showed policemen beating the workers with lathis and asking them to go back to where they began their journey.
It was later learnt that they were part of a group accommodated in the camp at Vijayawada Club, following the intervention of Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney on Friday.
The Chief Secretary, while returning from the chief minister's camp office at Tadepalli on Friday, found a group of workers walking along the road. She stopped her car and spoke to the workers, who informed her that they started walking from Chennai and were on their way to home states of Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand.
The Chief Secretary had directed Guntur and Krishna district collectors to accommodate the workers in relief camps and make arrangements for their transport through Shramik special trains to their destinations.
However, about 150 workers left Vijayawada Club on Saturday morning and started walking towards the highway. Some of them were on their bicycles. On receiving the information, the police stopped the group and asked them to return to the camp.
As the workers insisted that they be allowed to continue their journey to their home states, police said that they resorted to mild lathi-charge and forced them to return to the camp.
Meanwhile, hundreds of migrant workers heading back to Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh from Chennai were reportedly stranded at the Tamil Nadu border as Andhra Pradesh police sealed the routes to stop them from entering the state.
"We are being asked to go back. How can we walk back after covering such a long distance? The authorities should show some sympathy by allowing us to pass through Andhra Pradesh," a worker told IANS.
More than 2,000 hungry and tired workers were stranded on the border point in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu. Moved by the plight of the workers, some voluntary organizations started distributing food and water among stranded migrants on the border.
Earlier this week, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had also asked officials to provide counselling for the migrants who are walking back to their states and accommodate them in relief camps, followed by transportation through Shramik trains.