Photos and videos of injured migrant labourers, travelling in an open truck with tarpaulin-wrapped dead bodies in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, sparked outrage on Twitter, this week.
Many tweeps shared news reports about how bodies of migrants who died in a truck collision in Auraiya, 200km from the city of Lucknow, on Saturday, were sent home with the survivors on three trucks, bound for Jharkhand's Bokaro and Purulia in West Bengal.
Tagging UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, tweep @imVishal_Verma questioned the state leader for such “inhumane” treatement of migrant workers. He tweeted: "@myogiadityanath Ji sending dead body by truck of those people who died in road accident in UP's Auraiya district is very shameful and inhuman behavior from your side. It's showing your irresponsible toward the poor section of the society.”
Twitter user @lan2in posted: “@pmo should know #MigrantLabourers are also #IndianCitizens and @Uppolice is sending dead body and injured #MigrantLabourers in same truck from #UP to #Bengal. This is inhuman and we want an answer.”
And @rahulmishrajii, added: “Honorable cm of up @myogiadityanath, on one side you are giving very long statement about labourers but on the other side you are sending their dead bodies on the truck. In your large state can there be no van or ambulance available?”
Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren, also took to Twitter to react. He wrote: “This inhumane treatment of our migrant workers could possibly be avoided. I request @UPGovt and office of @NitishKumar ji to arrange suitable transportation of the deceased bodies till Jharkhand border and we will ensure adequate dignified arrangements to their homes in Bokaro."
Eleven of the deceased were from Jharkhand in Bihar, the others were from Bengal. A day later, the authorities sent back the bodies in trucks, along with the survivors, headed to Bihar and West Bengal.
After the incident went viral, the trucks were finally stopped on the highway to Prayagraj, and the bodies were loaded onto ambulances.
Over the last month, thousands of desperate migrant labourers have been trying to reach home across the country by various means. Due to lack of adequate transportation, many paid truck drivers their savings in a bid to reach home. On the way, some died of exhaustion, others became victims of accidents like this one.
Reportedly, the Uttar Pradesh government has now stopped the entry of labourers who are coming on foot or in transport other than state government buses.
Officials in border districts stop them, and have been asked to send them home in government buses. Since, the process is taking too long, this has resulted in another problem.
Migrants risk lives, use tyre tubes to cross Yamuna and enter UP
Reportedly, nearly 3,000 migrants have been silently crossing the Yamuna river holding rubber tubes at night, in an attempt to reach UP from Haryana.
Posting a video of this, @i_theindian tweeted on May 19: “Since UP government isn't allowing its own people to enter by road, migrants have started risking their lives by dangerously crossing the Yamuna river on tyre tubes. When will the government wake-up and help its own people?”
According to a report on indiatimes.com, every night for the past few days nearly 3,000 migrant workers, children included, have been jumping into the Yamuna holding rubber tubes to stay afloat.
Reportedly, they pay between Rs200 and Rs300 to use the worn-out tubes, which are already in bad shape, these “may burst anytime putting the lives of those holding it in the middle of the river in jeopardy”.
Tweep @logicalindianz posted: “While @myogiadityanath was counting the buses sent by Priyanka (from the Opposition - Congress) at the Noida border, on an average 2,000 migrants were crossing Yamuna in the night risking their lives!”
Officials have now identified the roads the migrants take after crossing the river and authorities have been deployed at specific points to screen them for infections and put them in mandatory quarantine.