No Testing or Quarantine: Returning Migrants Decry Bihar’s Apathy

Migrants returning to Bihar allege that they are not being screened or tested for COVID-19 upon arrival. 

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Video Editors: Puneet Bhatia and Kunal Mehra

With migrant workers returning home, Bihar is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Till 31 May, 17 people had lost their lives due to the coronavirus pandemic in Bihar. So far, 3,800 people have tested positive in the state. Of them, 2,500 people are migrants. At a time when lakhs of migrants are returning to Bihar, they are not being thermally screened or tested and aren’t being sent to quarantine centres either.

Is Bihar turning a deaf ear to the COVID-19 crisis? Why are returning migrants not being tested?

Tausif Alam, a migrant worker who recently returned to Bihar, said during his journey back home to Muzaffarpur, he saw social distancing norms being flouted and the lack of any thermal screening upon arrival. He added, “We got our train tickets from Ambala and we were tested there. But when we returned to Muzaffarpur neither were we thermally screened nor were we asked if we showed COVID-19 symptoms.”

This lapse was seen at other stations including Hajipur as well, where passengers were allowed to go straight home from the station without any testing or quarantine instructions.

“There was no medical check-up done. People were allowed to leave without check-ups.”
Himanshu Kumar, Migrant worker

Some migrants even alleged that the local police beat them up.

“When people de-boarded the train we were beaten up and told to move forward. People are already troubled. What was the need to beat them up? We were told to leave the station and go wherever we wanted to.”
Tausif Alam, Migrant worker

Watch the video above for more.

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