A clip of a child asleep on a trolley suitcase pulled by his mother went viral on social media. The video was from India. It shows a migrant family’s arduous journey trying to go back home.
Thousands of Indians have been leaving their cities returning to their villages ever since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed across the country.
Suddenly out of job, several workers have been forced to make this journey on foot. The social media has been flooded with heartbreaking pictures of their journey. Here are some of them.
The sleeping child
In the picture above a child can be seen sleeping on a trolley bag. The bag is being pulled by his mother with a rope under the scorching heat. The video was shot on the roads of Agra.
Migrant labour coming from Punjab, pass via Agra for Jhansi pic.twitter.com/lNGiRpu0zc— Arvind Chauhan (@arvindcTOI) May 13, 2020
According to a report by the Times of India, the woman was walking from Punjab to her hometown in Jhansi. A journey of over 800 kilometers.
Pregnant woman on foot gives birth, walks for another 160km
Another incident reported by the CNN revealed that a pregnant woman interrupted her journey on foot to give birth and then kept walking for another 160km with her newborn baby.
The woman was walking with her husband and four other children from Maharashtra to Madhya Pradesh. “She just rested for about one and a half to two hours after she delivered,” Kavita Kanesh, an official at a checkpoint in Madhya Pradesh, said.
The family had no money, no means of transport, no one was giving them a lift. Kanesh added that the baby was born on May 5, five days before she reached the checkpoint.
The woman has been shifted to a quarantine centre now where she’s being other given medical facilities as well.
Man steals bicycle, leaves an apology note behind
A migrant worker stole a bicycle in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur to cover a journey of 250 km to return home in Bareilly with his son. He, however, left an apology behind.
A moving note in Hindi by a honest man named Mohammad Iqbal who had to steal a bike to pedal home his disabled child from 250 kms away in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur. https://t.co/VoNJdWHcKm pic.twitter.com/8Dng804iOc— Abhishek Avtans अभिषेक अवतंस (@avtansa) May 16, 2020
“Main majdoor hun, majboor bhi. Main aapka gunehgar hu. Aapki cycle lekar ja raha hu. Mujhe maaf kar dena. Mujhe Bareily tak jana he. Mere pass koi sadhan nahi he aur viklang baccha hai [I am your culprit. But, I am a labourer and also helpless. I’m taking your bicycle. Forgive me. I have no other means to reach and I have a specially-abled child. I have to go to Bareilly],” read Iqbal’s handwritten note in Hindi.
The owner of the bicycle, Sahab Singh, found the notes swept under his veranda, according to Hindustan Times.
The weeping man who could not meet his dying son
Rampukar Pandit, a construction worker, was stuck in Delhi for three days. He was on his foot to Bihar to meet his dying son. He, however, couldn’t reach there on time
A penniless migrant worker breaks down as he talks on his mobile phone, a photo that should haunt all Indians pic.twitter.com/urpe6oVPUD— Khogen Singh (@khogensingh1) May 11, 2020
According to The Hindu, the man worked at a cinema hall site in Delhi. He was spotted weeping as he talked on the phone by the side of the Nizamuddin Bridge in Delhi by a photographer on May 11. He was struggling to reach hometown Begusarai, almost 1,200 km away.
Pandit had been stuck there for three days before help arrived. His son passed away shortly after the picture was taken. “Hum mazdooron ka koi desh nahin hota [We labourers don’t belong to any country],” he said.
A human bullock
In another incident, a video of a migrant worker pulling a cart with another bull on the yoke went viral.
Rahul, a daily wager, was forced to sell one of his bulls to buy food. According to News18, He had yoked himself to the cart so that his family wouldn’t have to walk under the heat. He was travelling from Mhow in Madhya Pradesh to Indore.
In other incidents, migrant workers on foot have also been killed after they were run over by cars and trains. On Friday, 16 migrant workers were killed after they were run over by a cargo train while they were sleeping on the tracks in Maharashtra.
They had been travelling from Maharashtra to Madhya Pradesh on foot after they couldn’t find a train or bus.
India has reported more than 78,000 coronavirus cases and 2,551 deaths so far, according to the John Hopkins University. Prime Minister Narendra Modi first imposed a lockdown in the country on March 24.