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Why Not Airlift Us, Are We Your Enemies?: Migrant Worker Asks Govt

A migrant workers whose bus was returned from the UP border has an important question for the Modi govt.

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Video Editor: Vivek Gupta

“You airlifted people who were stranded in Wuhan, the place where COVID-19 coronavirus originated. Why can’t you airlift people in your own country? Are we your enemies?”

Ranjeet Shukla, a migrant worker from Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki had an important question for the government, even as he waited for his turn to go home. After three attempts, he and his family had got a chance to board a bus that would take them home. Instead, their bus was stopped at the UP border on Sunday, 17 May and returned to a shelter home in Haryana’s Rohtak.

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“We had to register thrice. After that our number came for return by bus. And now when the bus reached the borders, the administration on the other side sent us back.”
Ranjeet Shukla

Shukla says he had withdrawn Rs 4,000 when he set out on the journey. Showing the bank account details, Shukla says, “I have just Rs 6 left with me now. What do I do now?”

The Uttar Pradesh administration had sent back the buses on the intervening night of 17 and 18 May citing law and order problems, as there were reports of protests by migrant workers at the Saharanpur highway.

Shukla’s relative, Sushma, also craved for the comfort of her home. She is pregnant and has a 1-year-old to take care of.

“Please take me home somehow? I don’t want anything else.”

Breaking into sobs from time-to-time, Sushma says, “I have been feeling nauseous since morning. The police got me some medicines but I have not eaten anything since morning. There is no food at the shelter yet. How do I have the medicine?”

Fortunately, after spending a night at the Haryana shelter, Sushma and her family could resume the journey back to their home in UP. But there are hundreds of migrant workers still on the road, walking or waiting to return home.

(With inputs from Devinder Sharma in Rohtak)

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