Migrant labourers trudge back home, face police wrath

3/25/2020

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 Migrant labourers who are returning to their homes in Uttar Pradesh and are caught in the lockdown, are now forced to walk long distances to reach their homes.

These labourers, who are now reaching the state capital on goods trains, are finding themselves stranded because all public transport is off the roads.

Anuj Kumar, a worker in a garment factory in Ludhiana, sat atop a goods train with his co-workers and reached Lucknow on Tuesday night.

"When our unit shut down and the owner asked us to go back, we found that all trains had stopped. We sat atop a goods train and found that the country had been put under lockdown. I live in Barabanki while some of my friends live in Bahraich. I guess we will now have to walk to our homes," he said.

This group-like many others is braving the police wrath on the way, but there is no alternative for them.

The labourers are aware of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to stay wherever they are during the lockdown period, but say that they have no option.

"Where can we stay? We have limited money and cannot survive on the roads. We need to reach home at the earliest," they said.

Most of these labourers have not eaten for the past several hours. They belong to the unorganised sector and are not beneficiaries of free food and Rs 1,000 per month being offered by the state government.

As temperatures rise by the hour, they often move through the lanes and fields to avoid the highways where the police presence is strong.

"It took us more than five hours to travel from the railway station to the Faizabad road because we wanted to avoid confrontation with the cops," said Anuj.

His friend, Sudhir, said, "I feel that the police should understand our predicament and maybe offer us a lift for some distance. But that is, perhaps, hoping for too much."

Source: IANS

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