Left without a job amid India’s lockdown, a young migrant worker named Ramu, began his journey from Hyderabad city to his village in Madhya Pradesh. With him were his pregnant wife Dhanwanta and infant daughter Anuragini. A Twitter video went viral today, showing how Ramu, unable to find any affordable means of transport, wheeled them both for over 700kms, on a makeshift wooden cart.
Indian journalist @Anurag_Dwary posted the video showing the poor migrant worker with his eight-month-pregnant wife and their two-year-old daughter.
After walking “for days without anything to eat”, the family reached their village in Balaghat district on Tuesday.
According to a report on Indian news website, ndtv.com, Ramu made the cart himself, with wood and sticks, because he could not find a bus or a truck to make the journey.
He said: “I first tried to carry my daughter and walk. But it was difficult to walk the entire distance on foot with my pregnant wife. So, I built a makeshift cart with wood and sticks I found in the jungles on the way and then pulled the cart all the way to Balaghat.”
Once the family entered their native district through Maharashtra, a police team, provided the three with biscuits and food. They gave new slippers to Ramu's infant daughter and they were all sent for a medical checkup and quarantine.
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Migrant workers, stranded across the country due to the nationwide lockdown, have been walking hundreds of kilometres to reach home. Many of them have died on the way from exhaustion, while some have been killed in accidents. Tweeps in India have been sharing such news reports in hopes of bringing the government’s attention to this huge issue.
Asking lawmakers in the country to take note of the situation @sannir9 tweeted: “These are painful videos coming out to tell … painful situation to all honest people who believe in hard work and honesty. Please help these whoever can... please... please.”
Boy sleeps on suitcase, as mother wheels him
Another video that has gone viral shows a boy sleeping on a suitcase being wheeled by his mother, also a migrant worker.
As her exhausted son sleeps, the mother drags the suitcase, keeping in pace with a small group walking on the highway in Agra, Uttar Pradesh.
Sharing the video tweep @ahmermkhan posted: “A heartbreaking video of a child who was exhausted latched on to a suitcase dragged by his mother. Hit by #covid lockdown, stranded on roads: migrant labourers have been walking for days/weeks to reach home in India.”
When asked why she was not taking the state government buses arranged for migrants to travel in the lockdown, there was no reply from the exhausted mother.
Reportedly, the group started their long journey on foot from Punjab, and were headed to Jhansi - a distance of 800 km.
Twitter users continued to highlight the plight of India’s migrant workers. Tweep @SAAURABH_INC001 posted: “The heartbreaking human tragedy of migrant workers walking back home needed compassion and safe return. India is deeply disappointed by utter lack of empathy, sensitivity and failure to address the woes of millions of migrants.”