Migrants face police wrath in sweltering heat

Allege harassment during registration for going to native places, say will die of starvation if not Covid

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 24

Hundreds of migrants from UP and Bihar had to face the wrath of police, when they approached to complete the requisite formalities to enable them to go back to their native states.

Migrants wait for their turn

Chaos prevailed when they were called up early in the morning to undergo medical examination and furnish documents to procure tickets here on Sunday.

Braving the scorching heat, they resented that no thought was spared to at least make arrangement of drinking water.

Mithlesh Kumar said he was to go back to Bihar. “I am continuously coming here for the last two days. I came at 6 am and till noon, the doctors’ team didn’t arrive and we were left to wait for hours. The landlord, too, will not entertain us back,” he said.

Members of an NRI family distribute langar among migrants.Vishal Kumar

Akhilesh Kumar said there was no arrangement for water and food. “We will die of starvation if not by coronavirus. We had requested the policemen to let us go in to fetch water, but in vain. Instead, they chided us and did not refrain from thrashing for no fault of ours. We have been coming here repeatedly, but were sent back empty-handed,” he said.

For registration, migrants apply on government portal — covidhelp.punjab.gov.in. Once they are registered, they are intimated about their travel details on their registered mobile numbers with a token number. The local administrative, municipal and health officials pick them up from their destination, conduct formalities, including their medical tests, before getting them to the railway station to board the train.

Many migrants find the registration process cumbersome and tedious to apply online due to lack of knowledge. Some complained that they get the intimation late.

SAD (Parvasi wing) head Mahesh Verma, said after the intervention of the administrative officials, special arrangement of buses were made to ferry migrants, bound for UP, to Ludhiana. He resented the lack of arrangements at the place, where they were made to stay under severe hot weather with no food and water. “Actually, they assembled here due to some miscommunication, but there was no train scheduled for UP from here on Sunday. So, around 300 migrants were sent to Ludhiana, from where they would catch the train for their destinations such as Balia, Mau, Gajipur, Sitapur, Balrampur in UP.

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