With factories laying off workers with no pay, thousands of migrant workers have been forced to flee the metros, including Delhi, and head home to their villages.
Delhi: Migrant labourers have started leaving for their hometown in neighbouring states. A labourer says "We're going to Badaun(UP) from Okhla. We're hungry from 2 days. Biscuit pack which used to cost Rs 10 now costs Rs 30. We've no money. We'll die either of hunger or #COVID19" pic.twitter.com/9SY2iD5Tc4— ANI (@ANI) March 27, 2020
However, because almost all forms of transportation are shut, these workers with meager or no savings, are forced to walk hundreds of kilometers. Worse still, they have no access to food or water.
For many of them, even a packet of biscuit is out of reach. And hunger remains just as big a threat, if not bigger, than the Coronavirus.
While in some cases police officers have stepped up and helped the workers, instances of police harassing the migrants and general public have also emerged.
In such trying times, it is important for the police to understand the fear and uncertainty the most vulnerable are dealing with.
Chief Ministers of several states, including Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, have assured that the migrant workers will be looked after.
Lakhs of Delhi residents have come from other states. CMs and people from those states have been writing to me to help these people— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 27, 2020
I want to assure all - migrants in Delhi are Delhiites. They're our responsibility. We will do everything in our capacity to help them.
This morning I received a call from @derekobrienmp with a message from Bengal CM @MamataOfficial ji. About 800 labour stuck in Maharashtra.— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) March 26, 2020
Ofcourse we can’t let them go back as state borders are sealed, but we reached out and are taking care of them. #WarAgainstVirus
And yet, these workers either have no faith on the system or no access to the requisite information.
At times like this, one can't help but wonder, if it's possible for a nation to save its citizens from across the globes, does it not owe the responsibility to the people suffering within the nation?