Community Survey

15000 People Held in a Cowshed With Dead Animals: Vande Bharat Only for the Rich?

Migrant workers returning from different parts of the country and passing through Uttar Pradesh were held at the Madhya Pradesh-Uttar Pradesh border before proceeding ahead.

Thereon, they were led to an open cowshed and made to wait until further transportation could be arranged.

This camp shut down on 1st June 2020 since everyone had left. But we think that it is still important to tell this story so that we are all reminded of how we treat our own people.

When this video report was filed, on 25th May 2020, there were about 8000 people at this camp Uttar Pradesh's Lalitpur district, under a tattered tent.

There was no food, water or sanitation facilities for these people provided by the government. No medical staff was present to screen or test them for Coronavirus infection or for any other medical ailments.

Our community correspondent Shankar Lal reported that once or twice the Sub Divisional Magistrate had visited the site but no provisions had been arranged even then. In total, about 15,000 people were at this site.

Food and water was provided by citizens’ groups like the Annapurna Seva Sang. Without their support, these people would have suffered from hunger and thirst.

After waiting for three-four days and giving up on hope of finding a transport, many started their journey back home on foot. They were from different states - Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra - and with teary eyes say they do not even know where they are and do not expect any help to come by.

Despite tall claims flashing on television sets and on social media groups, the ground reality tells us a different story. One asks whether the Vande Bharat Mission, the ‘world’s largest repatriation exercise’ is only for the upper class and well to do?

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