A Long Walk In Lockdown

A Long Walk In ‘LOCKDOWN’

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A long walk in Lockdown - migrant workers

Lockdown Begins

It was the middle of March, life was busy as usual, but a word was repeatedly popping up on every news channel. A newly found virus originated from china was spreading in the world, Novel Corona Virus(Covid-19). The virus spread all over the globe in a few days and was declared as Pandemic by WHO. Finally, following the trend, Prime Minister of India announced for the lockdown of 21 days starting from 25 March. The decision was sudden and thus create a panic situation throughout the country.

The Starting of The Long Walk

However, everyone was supposed to stay wherever they were, some were trying to find an option to reach back home. One week in the lockdown and the cashless backbone of daily waged migrant workers started to crack. Having no source of income, survival in the cities without money was not possible for them anymore. Governments were, as usual, showing much the hypocrisy of fake promises than the reality on grounds.

Having no money to pay rent, no food to eat and no available transport means, a flock of Migrant workers comes out on the roads heading to their villages. The sparkling skyscrapers of the cities were no more attractive to them. Men, women with children on their shoulders were out on the road and a long walk in the Lockdown begins.

Ignorance of Migrants & Loss of Lives

Thousands of them were walking, with kids on their shoulders and dragging their heavy bags in the burning summers. The government was doing nothing but to spectate and issuing guidelines to stay. The game of allegations was again running in the deserted courtyard of Indian Politics.

The Lockdown kept on extending from days to months. Allegations were made but the transport was not arranged. The migrants were forced to walk this journey of hundreds and thousands of miles on their own.

Finally, a few political leaders and most common people came out of their houses to help. The help was a relief but not sufficient for Jeeta Madkami. As reported by NDTV, Jeeta died 14 km away from her village after a long walk of 3 days.

Cause of Death

Dehydration and undernourishment were suspected as the main reasons behind her death. The corona test was negative as well. But the ignorance of government, unavailability of transportation, and basic facilities in this situation were not included in the medical report.

Everyone still believes that not taking proper meals and dehydration were the main reasons for the death of Jeeta. Jeeta is just a name but the story is the same for more than 350 workers who died while returning to their villages as a report of The Wire.

https://thewire.in/rights/migrant-workers-non-coronavirus-lockdown-deaths

Also, according to a report of the Hindustan Times, also around 200 were killed in road accidents in this situation. So, COVID was not the only monster eating up lives.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/198-migrant-workers-killed-in-road-accidents-during-lockdown-report/story-hTWzAWMYn0kyycKw1dyKqL.html

Encounter with Police

The journey was being more horrifying every day. Not just these workers were ignored to provide food, water, or transportation, but they were beaten up and punished at many places. Major conflicts were reported in many cities. A few miles were added to the “Long Walk” of these workers to hide the flaws of government. In all this mess up, rumors of transportation availability also bring out a huge crowd of workers on railway stations and bus depots.
migrant workers beaten up

Are We Home yet?

Finally, after several days of in-sensitiveness and ignorance, central and state governments started arranging the buses and trains to bring them back home. But the journey doesn’t end on reaching the villages. After crossing the last milestone of their journey and knocking on the door of their village, they were put in Quarantine homes for 14 days.

So-called Quarantine Homes where the basic facilities were absent and people were forced to stay like animals in barns. Many were reported to flee out of there. Finally, most of them were put in the Home Quarantine but still, they had a smile on their faces, a joy to be home.

The Government in power was still playing its pity politics, ignoring help and suggestions from the opposition, alleging others for the disaster. But as we all know the truth, The government who was claiming to be the World Leader (Vishwa Guru) one year ago was now on its knees. Government was unable to provide basic things for the survival of its own citizens.

This article is not about only a journey but the reason behind the “Long Walk” that thousand of families started while some of them doesn’t make it to the end.

 

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