Migrant Workers Die Defying Enslavement Under Cover Of Fighting Epidemic!
They died out of exhaustion, walking back to their homes, away from sure hunger, knowing no wages will come their way and no ‘secure’ stay- away from the virus was possible in a 10 foot sqare room. They walked, knowing they were only statistics for Governments, with the calm acceptance that transport facilities are arranged for the Rich, not for Unaccounted Anonymous Workforce. They got shoved into quarantine homes, into jails under colonial- vestige- Epidemic Act, were dropped back to their bastis.
Being beaten along the way by police was part of the risk. They have no expectations of justice from rulers; they use the mode of transport which is totally private- their legs. On highways, they were occasionally knocked down by trucks and those VIP vehicles which move in lockdowns. To avoid irritating the police, now all over the country they are walking next to the railway lines, as trains will not move for them. They are declared prisoners within their own country, so what if the colonizers are gone? So they die sleeping on the railway tracks, as 14 workers of Madhya Pradesh have this morning. They were walking home from Maharashtra. Govt. of Karnataka openly decrees migrants can’t go home- Builders need them. Central Labour Minister asks trade unions to make workers ‘stay’ so industry can open! Delhi Govt. procastinates over requisitioning trains. Odisha High Court decrees that trains be cancelled so that migrants be tested before they can step on natal soil; why can’t they be tested in Odisha itself? They are Nobodys, Objects to be used when needed. Did someone say ‘slave labour’?- but even UP Govt. is not going to suspend Bonded Labour Act, rest assured, though it is suspending all others.
The walking migrants are a substantial of the working class of India. They are walking home through the countryside now, relying on local peasantry for food where possible and also receiving this support. Yes they are dying, but before their urge to go home, the rulers’ are biting the dust. Theirs is the strength that builds, produces, services the country. Hail the walking migrant workers, Johaar to the valiant ones dying in the attempt. The walking migrant workers will not let the rulers Throw them out of the Frame.
Speak up! Demand Stop to Killing and Chaining Workers in the name of the Pandemic. Demand Right of Transport to Their Homes With All Precautions and Safety Measures for All Migrant Workers.
May 8, 2020