Hopeless, helpless and hapless – the migrant

Migrant workers hapless walking back home

New Delhi:  They are Indians.  They have got less money or no money.  Their reach is very limited.  They have no godfather.  They are just Indians who love India as much as  all Indians do.  But they have a tag which makes them different.  They are low-wage earners.  Some call them labourers.  But now they are popular as migrant workers.

Lakhs of these low-wage earners have forced themselves to reach back to their homes in far off villages from the cities in which they had made their  second home while earning a livelihood.

The government has left them in lurch after dozens of promises that they would be provided food during the lockdown period fell flat. Even the official directive that no factory owner or businessmen engaging these migrant workers will not deduct their wages during the period of lockdown  but it never happened.

With less train in operations and buses also very few, the migrants started walking to their homes. On way, some fell ill while a few died and children wept.  They were hungry and their small feet could not bear the heat of the summers and that too without water.

The shutdown was taking its toll. The police were stopping them at various places.  So they took the route on the railway tracks which they thought would be shorter.  Some got overrun by a train.  Some got injured.

The Congress lined up 1000 buses to take them to their homes but the UP government did not give permission. The buses were called back after waiting for two days.

Now that the corona meter of positives has crossed over 1.10 lakhs with almost a thousand deaths, the Centre decided to ask the States to take a call on restriction-easing in their respective states washing off its hands on finding that it was wrong timing for the lockdown.  The need of such measures was at present when the fear of migrants spreading is very high.

These migrant workers have been contributing towards the development of the nation

The migrants at the border areas are in a state that Indians have never experienced.  The migrants without whose contribution the big cities and small towns cant prosper, are now waiting for returning. Homesickness is a fall out from the fear of remaining unemployed for a pretty long period with no one coming forward to help. They are Indian and belong to India.  Suddenly they find themselves alien in their own country.  

With less of trains  in operation and some of them having been cancelled at the last moment, the migrants patience has been tested and now for the last few days incidents of violence and demonstration has surfaced.

The government has a laid-back posture as they know that these migrants, divested of money and employment, and walking back with their tiny tots will not dare to indulge in arson and loot or violence on a mass scale.

The lathi charge at them in Haryana and Maharastra has put the State government in the dock after receiving lot of flak from not only India but elsewhere in the world. It is also fearing a backlash in the form of human rights petitions which will be a difficult task to combat with.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi must be repenting on his moves and addressing the people four times on the television channels in India proudly presenting them with figures and data of how India has been able to contain the virus infection.

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