A picture shared on social media, showed a migrant kid sleeping on his mother’s suitcase, being dragged while walking on foot to reach their destination. On Thursday, Agra District Magistrate Prabhu Narayan Singh reacted to the visual calling it a common childhood incident, as reported by ABP news.
Singh said, "When we were kid, we used to sit on the suitcases used by our fathers."
The comment hasn't gone down well with many since the video was deemed as heartbreaking and embarrassing on the part of officials managing the migrant crisis.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan reacted to the DM’s statement and wrote, "Wow! Agra DM says that the sleeping child being dragged by his migrant mother on a suitcase was just having fun like he used to have as a child! Andher Nagri, Chowpat Raja!"
According to the journalist who filmed the clip, they were walking from Punjab and travelling to Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, a distance that is over 800 km.
The long march back to their homes by hordes of migrant workers through Agra has put additional pressure on the district administration battling Covid-19 community spread, in the 44 hot zones.
On Thursday, the focus was on providing relief to unending streams of migrant workers on the national highways and expressways. The Indian Medical Association helped organise thermal screening and health checkups at the Rainbow Hospital on the Agra-Delhi highway. A team led by Dr Narendra Malhotra screened and provided basic essentials to sustain and support their onward march. "It is such a human tragedy to watch these hapless men, women and children trudging along in such scorching heat."
Singh said there had been two deaths and the total number of cases was now 789. Till late Thursday evening there were four new cases. The number of fatalities was 27. A BJP youth leader from Maharashtra Parmesh Rao Maratha, succumbed to Covid-19.
Till date 10,171 samples have been tested. After a special team of senior bureaucrats took over the reins five days ago, the number of cases has shown a remarkable decline, health officials claimed. However, accusations continued to fly regarding the actual numbers and the authenticity of test reports.
The general feeling here was that there had been a discernible change in the management of government hospitals and the services provided to those in the isolation wards and the quarantine centres, in the past one week, after the elected representatives made a hue and cry.
Many NGOs have demanded nationalisation of the health services and medicare, after the alleged failure of the private sector hospitals and medical practitioners to join the battle against Covid-19. The IMA however does not share this perception. Its members were providing tele consultations and were actively involved in strategising operational modes, according to the IMA.