The Politicization of Stranded Migrants | Nationwide Lockdown
- by Suramya-Kaushik
- Jun 01, 2020 20:14
After the nationwide lockdown, the biggest nightmare came to the daily wage workers and the poor people who lost their jobs and work. After a few days, they were left with no work and many of their landlords asked for the rents and even asked them to leave the house. In such a plight, the mass exodus of laborers took place. Many stranded laborers and their families started to march to their hometowns. In the initial phase, nobody paid heed to their plight but when the laborers saw no help coming around, they started to walk miles and miles to reach their village or native place. They started marching and walking because they were left with no money, no food and even no place to live. In such grave circumstances, these people thought that it’s better to reach the village and have a place to live rather than dying from hunger. Stranded laborers and poor people were of the opinion that it won’t be corona but the hunger that they’ll die off.
In such a scenario, governments came up with camps and services to provide them food and clean water but these services didn’t reach too many of those people who were waiting for a ray of hope in the darkest times of lockdown. Thousands of migrants then started their journey on foot to reach the village so they could manage to get some food and a proper shelter to live in. Amidst such times, heart-wrenching stories came from different parts of the country where a pregnant lady named Shakuntla gave birth on the road while marching from Nasik to her hometown and even after the delivery she rested for a couple of hours and again marched for about 160 km till she finally received help at Bijasan (MP-Maharashtra border) by a police inspector.
Another case where a photo went viral on social media where a man was seen talking on the phone and crying miserably on a roadside. That’s a story of a man who wished to meet his family but got news of his dead son and got no transit to reach his hometown. A story of a man dragging a wooden wheeled cart with his pregnant wife and a small child sitting over it, there are hundreds of similar stories like this. It would be no exaggeration if I would say that words will vanish but these stories will not.
However, when these stories emerged like a volcano due to a number of mishappenings that occurred with these migrants; be it Auriya’s road accident, the railway track mishappening or other accidents, then the political parties became more vigilant and started to make more vivid arrangements for their travel, shelter, and food. At the tail end of lockdown 3.0, the bus services and rail services began for them and that is the time when politicization began.
Some states arranged buses for them while some other states refused to take them. Then chaos created over the railway fare. A party then announced to pay the fare for migrants wherein immediately the other party pointed that these migrants are being sent for free. In another case, a state party sent govt. buses to pick up migrants and bring them back then another party pointed over the poor conditions of the buses and didn’t allow the other buses as well. There are a number of such cases where parties have found ways to politicize the plight of migrants. Even in the accident case in Auriya, the accident was politicized with political leaders pointing on other governments over why the migrants were allowed to go in a truck, from where did the truck come from and all such allegations.
But, in this whole act of politicization not even a single political leader came out to distribute food, or check the shelter facilities or extend their support. Reviewing ground reality through party offices, helicopters, phonic conversations aren’t enough in such times. We live in a democratic country and we choose our representative. The leaders enjoy their political power because these migrants have voted for them. It was time when these stranded migrants needed them the most but their all promised assistance and help remained miles apart from them.
My motive over this opinion is not to blame a single political party because it’s a common practice that has been done by all the parties. In all such mayhem, the only sufferers were the migrants. The rich were enjoying at homes with their delicacies, the opinionated ones were posting on social media under a nice ceiling fan and the powered ones were making policies to find people’s attention on the verge of the poor’s life. The only question that remains unanswered is- Do politics teach to sideline the basic principle of humanity and the humanitarian deeds?
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