Helpless and exhausted, pictures and videos of migrant workers walking several miles without food, water and rest have been doing the rounds on the internet.
These pictures are a strong reminder of the plight of the migrant workers across the entire country. One such picture that recently went viral on social media and and left a lasting impression on our hearts and minds was that of a man crying while talking on the phone.
I’m sure all of us want to know his story. He is Ram Pukar Pandit, a 38-year-old migrant from Bihar who has been working in Delhi as a construction labourer for a decade now.
He earns a meagre amount of ₹7,000-8000 per month and visits his family in the village only once every 2-3 months.
On Monday, 11th May, he received a call from his wife from Begusarai in Bihar informing him about their 1-year-old child’s death.
In the absence of any transport, Pandit immediately started walking towards his village with just one wish – to see his child one last time.
He was apparently stopped by the Ghaziabad Police near UP Gate and remained stuck near the Ghazipur flyover for the next 3 days. All his pleas to policemen and officials went unheard.
The viral picture of him sobbing, is from the time when he was stranded at the UP border.
After his picture went viral and officials got to know about him, they dropped him at New Delhi Railway Station. He boarded a special migrant train to Bihar along with other migrants and has now reached Begusarai.
Devastated about not being able to see his son one last time, Pandit told Indian Express:
I am hopeful that I will meet my family soon. But what hurts the most is not the struggle near the border, it is that my family had to perform the last rites of my child without me. I won’t be able to see my son again.
His story makes us feel that we have not only failed a father but the entire migrant community.