Migrant labourers walking back home hundreds of kilometres away from Delhi have been telling whoever cared to hear, that they had no option but to leave because they had no work, no income, no food and no money.
Many of the women pointed out that they didn’t have even water where they lived. It was better to die back home of hunger or the coronavirus, than to wait in Delhi with no relief in sight.
They had apparently braved the lockdown till Thursday and exhausted what little savings they had. But on Friday, they decided on the long trek home. There are no explanation why cash, food, water and reassurance, promised by the Government in the media, did not reach them in those four days in the national capital.
But Balbir Punj and several public intellectuals supporting the BJP believe it was irresponsible behavior. In a series of tweets, Punj said:
· I may be accused of being anti-poor. Fact is migrant labourers have behaved irresponsibly. PM had asked all to stay put wherever they were. With nothing to do in Delhi they thought of catching up with their families or errands back home. They didn’t realise gravity of the situation. Sad.
· Why are migrants leaving Delhi? For want of money or food? NO. Just irresponsible. There is no money/jobs waiting for them back home. It’s to utilize their forced ‘chutti’ to catch up with their families or errands back home.
· What’s the mindset that’s motivating thousands to flee Delhi at great risk to themselves and others? Same which tells them to drive without helmets, seat belts, on the wrong side or after drinking. Philosophy: Take shortcuts, ignore risks. Plain irresponsible behavior.
· Thousands leaving Delhi & Kanika Kapoor hosting parties underlines all that is wrong with India. Both are irresponsible citizens.
An outraged reaction on Twitter read, “Look at the arrogance of this BJP ideologue, he thinks people are walking hundreds of miles to enjoy their holiday with their families. Hight of insensitivity and arrogance. Bhagwan inhe satbudhdhi de.”
But Punj remained unfazed. He responded by reiterating the following questions:
Why r they going?
1. Are jobs waiting for them back home?
2. Will they be safe from Corona there?
3. Why many don’t use helmets, seat belts, drive drunk or on wrong side?
It is same irresponsible mindset that’s motivating many to leave Delhi, risking their own & others’ lives.