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Lockdown displaces lakhs of migrants

Migrants keep waiting as Indian authorities block the India-Nepal border with barbed wires during the complete national lockdown imposed in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, at Raxaul in East Champaran, Bihar.

The Indian railways decided to stop all passenger trains from the midnight of March 23, 2020. On the same day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. Only essential services were allowed to function, albeit with restrictions. "Stay home, stay safe" became the slogan to fight against the novel coronavirus.

 

But what about those people who neither had a home nor a place to stay safe? Lakhs of migrant workers were rendered jobless as urban areas were shut due to lockdown. Night shelters run by local authorities began overflowing, and supplies started dwidling. These migrants were left with no choice but to head towards their hometowns.

While all forms of public transport were stopped, several workers began their arduous journey by foot . With inter-state borders blocked, they were stranded in between. For those who made it, it wasn't a pleasant welcome. They were asked to be quarantined for at least two weeks.

The scene of migrants walking along the national highways , police excesses on them, thousands of them swarming the bus stations when State governments operated special buses to ferry them, and barricades starring at them at their home States, narrate the ordeals they have gone through.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2022 11:53:23 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/specials/lockdown-displaces-lakhs-of-migrants/article56832346.ece