COVID-19 Lockdown: Workers in Bareilly Sprayed With Disinfectant
The incident took place after they alighted from a bus at Satellite Bus Stand.
Days after heart-wrenching images of migrant labourers leaving Delhi went viral on social media, a video from Bareilly district in Uttar Pradesh has been drawing ire. A group of migrant workers, who had returned from their respective places of work following the lockdown instituted on 24 March amid the coronavirus outbreak, were made to sit by the side of the road at Satellite Bus Stand. Footage show them huddled together while a man wearing a body suit sprays a liquid from a canister.
Bareilly’s first COVID-19 patient had been identified a day prior, following which the district’s traffic police and fire brigade began sanitising public places with sodium hypochloride.
The group of migrant workers alighted from a bus and were asked to sit down so that they could be sanitised as well. Some allegedly complained of a burning sensation in their eyes after the spraying incident.
The district magistrate of Bareilly has assured that action will be taken against those who sprayed the disinfectant on these labourers.
Several people took to Twitter to express shock and anger at the video, which was labelled as a 'discrimination' of sorts against poor and hapless labourers.
Workers ‘Suddenly Came and Sat There’, Claims Fire Chief
The NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) has sought action against officials for spraying workers with chemicals.
Speaking to media personnel, Bareilly's Chief Fire Officer Chandra Mohan Sharma admitted “chemicals being sprayed were meant to sanitise only metal surfaces and can cause harm to humans”. He also claimed “officials were going about their usual duty of sanitising the place by spraying fog when these people suddenly came and sat there (at the bus stop).”
The NCPCR has directed the DM of Bareilly to submit a report on the matter within a period of three days, reported PTI. A letter issued by the organisation read: "NCPCR has expressed serious view on this inhuman act. In view of the above incident, you are requested to get the matter inquired into urgently and issue necessary directions for immediate action thereby ensuring adequate arrangements of basic essentials to the family members viz. provision of food, shelter and safety and well-being of these children of migrant workers during lockdown period."
On 31 March, a day after the spraying incident in Bareilly came to light, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath condemned the incident and ordered action against errant officials. According to Additional Chief Secretary, Awanish Awasthi, he has also asked authorities to make sure that such incidents are not repeated in future.
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