Hundreds of migrant workers in India's national capital, New Delhi, were seen rushing to bus stops and railway stations in hopes of getting home ahead of the six-day lockdown, which was imposed from 10 pm on Monday, 19 April.
Despite Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asking the migrant labours to not leave Delhi, visuals emerging from bus-stops and nearby areas show that the fear of starvation is greater than the fear of catching a COVID infection.
Police officials told news agency PTI that over 5,000 people gathered at Anand Vihar and the railway station to get to their hometowns.
Chaos at Bus Station
The purpose of the week-long lockdown in Delhi was to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the national capital, amid a horrific second wave that has gripped the nation.
The pictures show massive crowds gathered at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal to get on to buses heading to Uttar Pradesh.
This chaos has ensured that social distancing and all other COVID protocols have been neglected.
(Photo: The Quint)
Migrant workers scramble heading to Anand Vihar ISBT in New Delhi on 19 April.
(Photo: The Quint)
People crowd as space inside the bus run short at Anand Vihar ISBT.
'Lockdown Might Extend,' Migrant Labourers Fear
The Quint spoke to migrant labourers heading towards their hometown in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and other states.
A daily wage worker heading towards Anand Vihar Bus terminal told The Quint that they are concerned that the government might extend the lockdown.
Another labourer said, " If the government extends the six-day lockdown what will we eat? This is exactly what happened last time, and we don't want to walk all the way to our homes this time."
Meanwhile, the police were in talks with civil administration officials to either arrange transport for them or shelter homes for their temporary stay, a senior police officer told news agency PTI.
'Don't Leave Delhi During Lockdown'
Delhi Police Commissioner SN Shrivastava appealed to the residents of Delhi to stay indoors. "We sympathise with the migrant labourers who in anticipation of losing jobs may be thinking of returning home. My appeal to them is that they should remain in Delhi. We will ensure that they are looked after," he said, reported news agency ANI.
Delhi has been reporting around 25,000 COVID-19 cases daily in the past few days.