Lucknow: A group of young migrant workers with backpacks who were headed to their hometowns were made to hop like frogs by the police in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, on Thursday as punishment for “violation” of lockdown norms.
While the Yogi Adityanath government has ordered an inquiry, as the video clip of the alleged police atrocity went viral leading to outrage, several such incidents have been reported from Noida, Ghaziabad and other cities where migrant workers returning from Delhi were allegedly thrashed and threatened by the cops.
As the Modi government announced a locked down on Tuesday for 21 days to arrest the spread of deadly corona virus, lakhs of migrant workers, including those who run food stalls, drive public transport and work in other small businesses, fled for their homes in rural India.
Many of the workers, who wished to return to their native places for survival, began their long journeys home on foot after the sudden shutdown brought the nation to a standstill.
Apart from the long trudge on foot, they were exposing themselves to the lurking corona virus. But what they must reckon with most is an insensitive and overzealous police force. A young boy was seen crying as he felt there was no way to dodge the police who had thrashed him.
He works at a hotel in the national capital region and was headed to his hometown. Congress State chief Ajay Kumar Lallu condemned the police action against migrant workers and asked the government to arrange food and transport for all such people in distress.
AK Tripathi, chief of Badaun Police, apologised in the evening. “I am ashamed of such behaviour by our men. An inquiry has been launched and the accused constables will be punished.
I apologised for the incident.” In a hastily released order, the Yogi government has directed all district magistrates to take care of all such migrant workers and offer them food at the district borders. The State government has also directed the districts to run community kitchens to help all needy people.
Meanwhile, several individuals and self-help groups have started community kitchens to help the needy. The Sankat Mochan Temple in Varanasi has started distributing prasad (Khichdi) from Thursday.