How to manage over half a million migrants! Sh. Bhaskar Rao, IPS.


Also Read: Part 1: How the Lockdown was implemented in Bangalore: Shri Bhaskar Rao, IPS
Part 2: Lockdown Challenge: Distributing PASSES to 4M people: Shri Bhaskar Rao, IPS
Part 3: UNTOLD Police stories of the LOCKDOWN: Cooking pasta, organizing washing machines & the ‘no Baton’ Rule!
Part 4: “Managing couples who were fighting at home was a police task too!” Lockdown Memories with Sh. Bhaskar Rao, IPS.

In recent times, the city of Bangalore is built on migrants from other states. For the last 15-20 years, we have witnessed Bangalore transform into a concrete jungle.

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The govt. has invested a lot of money on Apts. , Villas, Layouts, Concrete roads, Metros, etc infrastructure. For the construction of all these infrastructures, labor is needed.

Bangalore is one of the most economically developed cities in the country, and so is famously known as an economic destination all over the country.

Hence, the city of Bangalore sees in numerous people from several states flock towards it. Be it in search of jobs or to fulfil their dreams. When the lockdown was announced, it was also made clear that people should stay at their homes, and traveling outside was temporarily banned.

It was extremely difficult to keep such migrants from moving out of the city during this time. We got to know about an incident that occurred in Mumbai City.

Wherein, a piece of wrong information regarding trains being arranged for people wishing to travel to their home towns was spread across the social media platforms

Thousands of people rushed onto the roads, breaking quarantine and compromising the Law and Order, due to the false information. This repeated in few other states as well.

We took an immediate action in Bangalore upon hearing these incidents.

We appointed 8 Law & Order DCPs – East, West, North, South, Central, Whitefield, South-East & North-East. and ordered them to immediately identify all the Migrant worker camps through their respective Stations.

Each station DCP came back to us and informed us they had 5,6,7 camps from multiple states. We recorded all their contacts and addresses.

We assigned a Nodal Officer and an additional officer from the resp. stations to each such migrant worker camp. due to this, we got the information on over 1000 migrant worker camps in Bangalore and also were able to keep a close eye on any problem arising incidents from such camps and keep it at bay.

There were quite a few camps which were in extremely bad states. There were no proper food and drinking water facility. No facilities for toilets.

We brought this to the notice of Chief executives, BBMP Chief B.H. Anil Kumar and Working Class Secretary, Mr. Manivannan and tried to get a quick fix to these problems faced by the migrants in such camps.

We would frequently send people from our forces to visit the camps and keep in check about their health conditions. We would get them medically tested by doctors sent from Health-Welfare associations.

If these people had taken to the roads, it would have been very difficult to control them. Baton Charge, Firing, Tear Gassing were not an option as these were innocent people scared for their and their families lives who were residing in other states which is a natural feeling to have for any human being in normal situations let alone during COVID times.

Bhaskar Rao
Sh. Bhaskar Rao, IPS was the Police Commissioner during the lock-down

I am very thankful for the developments in Networking & Communications technology, as with the mobiles people are now able to call and get to know of their families well being in secs which otherwise would have taken a journey.

I am also thankful to all the generous, big-hearted people of Bangalore who lent a giant helping hand to us all in this trying circumstance by sending in Kilos of Rice and special kits containing essential food items to people in need, which even we didn’t think about.

Inspired by such people, each and every police station also became a counseling center to help and serve the needy.

My orders to my police force of 21000 was very simple, “You are all Police Commissioners, think as a commissioner and serve our people as best as you can.” which they did exceptionally.

Our constables got in touch with few rich and prosperous citizens of the society and requested them to help out the migrant working-class people as much as they could.

Not only migrant workers but also local workers who were homeless, poor, elderly suffered in these hard times. Police stations had become service centers.

Such a dire situation, I had never witnessed in my service as an entirety. Hoping, that we will not see such times again, any time in the future.

But this helped in creating a close relationship for the Police dept. with the migrant workers. Finally, after May 3rd ’20 when lockdown restrictions were made a little lenient, the Indian railways arranged trains for the working class to travel home as a special provision.

Credit: Nishanth Salian

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