As most of us complain of boredom sitting in the safe confines of our homes, we are effectively forgetting that social isolation is a privilege that many don’t have. On Saturday, a 39-year-old man, who had walked almost 200 kilometers from Delhi to reach his home in Morena in Madhya Pradesh, collapsed and died in Agra. On Thursday, March 26, 16 people who had been walking from Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi to Samastipur (some 335 km) during the lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic were rescued by the police.
While we’re all privileged to work from home and get paid, more than 80 percent of India’s labourers do not have paid or sick leaves and they are going back to their villages, leaving their livelihoods. The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on migrant workers. A few days ago, images of thousands of migrant workers leaving for their villages from Anand Vihar Bus Terminal in Delhi went viral. Today, another video from Bareilly surfaced online. In a video shared on Twitter earlier today, you can see migrant workers seated on the road and being “disinfected” by the city administration as the police watch over.
“Apni aankhen band kar lo. Bacchon ki aankhen band kar lo (shut your eyes, also get your kids to close theirs),” a personnel can be seen saying in the video before the spraying begins. From the looks of it, the solution coming out of the pipes looks high pressure and potent enough to hurt somebody.
Who r u trying to kill, Corona or humans? Migrant labourers and their families were forced to take bath in chemical solution upon their entry in Bareilly. @Uppolice@bareillytraffic @Benarasiyaa @shaileshNBT pic.twitter.com/JVGSvGqONm
— Kanwardeep singh (@KanwardeepsTOI) March 30, 2020
Right from the onset of the nationwide lockdown on the 21st of this month, a plethora of instances of migrant workers being effected the most have surfaced online. These also makes us think about how vulnerable the country’s poor happen to be right now. Also, not to forget that we are the same country that was more than swift to airlift and evacuate its rich, privileged citizens from the coronavirus hotspots across the world. And while the rich were being safely evacuated in airplanes, the poor weren’t even given the chance to make it to their homes in rickety roadways buses.
The video has sparked widespread outrage among the Twitterati as they question the humiliation that these labourers had to face after struggling so much just to make it to their homes during the crisis. Here’s what they have to say:
Bareilly’s District Manager took cognizance of the incident a few hours after the video was posted on Twitter and has ordered an inquiry into the same. However, God forbid, what if this outbreak takes an ugly shape in the country l? We know, who would be saved and who would be left to deal with their fates, right?
Featured Image: Twitter