They sit on the roadside with their belongings, as waves of chemical disinfectants hit them. A viral video from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, sparked outrage on Twitter today, as it shows a group of poor migrant children and women who returned to Lucknow, being sprayed with disinfectants. Tweeps are shocked.
Reportedly, the incident took place on Tuesday when migrant workers travelling on the Shramik Express trains, got off at the Charbagh railway station. The migrants were divided into different groups to board buses to their home districts when a civic official sprayed chemicals on a family sitting on the ground.
Indian media reports say that Lucknow’s Municipal Corporation said that a civic official committed the mistake. According to news website indiatoday.in, Lucknow Municipal Corporation Commissioner Indramani Tripathi said that buses were being sanitised at the railway station and in the process of sanitisation, the disinfectant was accidentally sprayed on the migrants.
Tripathi said: “The employee responsible for the incident has been removed as he did not follow set protocols.”
Tweeps are furious at the way migrant workers are being treated in the country.
@evolvingpotato posted: “Could they not give them protective gear to cover eyes and spray gently all over with a water pipe? What … is this harsh hose down with bleach and this is not to be seen as problematic?”
Questioning if such treatment was reserved for the poor, @PravinVaani tweeted: “This is freaking inhumane. Is this how Kota students will be sanitised? Is this how Indians stranded abroad will be sanitised when they return? Who sprays whatever chemical they are using directly on to the face?”
Highlighting the lack of sanitisation facilities for the poor, tweep @harbinder16 said: “All they need if at all is access to soap water and privacy to have a decent bath for sanitisation! Not being drenched in chemicals.”
Last week, after the plight of India’s poor migrant workers went viral on social media, the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs finally permitted interstate travel for migrants who were stranded in various parts of the country, without food or water, due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Following this, thousands of migrants from eastern and southern Indian states began arriving at the railway station in Lucknow.
Reportedly, around 60 to 70 buses are plying people to different districts from each train that comes in and the buses are routinely being sanitised during which this incident took place.
Reportedly, a similar incident from UP's Bareilly went viral in March.
A viral video showed more than two dozen migrant workers sitting on the streets as sanitation workers wearing protective gear sprayed disinfectants on the workers.