In a week, it will be two months of nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 and in these 60 days have witnessed the horrible plight of the migrant workers stranded across the country, thrown out by their landlords, without food, without wages with walking back to their home states being the only option left amid the pandemic gloom. These two months have been their darkest days and as our social media feeds flooded with several heartbreaking pictures, one with a migrant worker breaking down over a phone call, left netizens in tears as we shared in his pain. Also Read - LaLiga to Pay Tribute to Heroes of COVID-19 During Every Match
Unaware of the real story, the man from Begusarai, Bihar has now opened up about his real shattering story behind that picture and it will surely leave you feeling that we have failed a father and the entire migrant community. As per a report in The Indian Express, Ram Pukar Pandit (38) has been living in Nawada and working in Delhi for over a decade. Earning Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000 a month, he would meet his family once in two-three months while his younger brother took care of his one son and three daughters back home. Also Read - Kerala Allows Inter-district Bus Service in Restricted Manner, Decision to Open Temples on June 8
On Monday, 11th May, his wife called from Bihar’s Begusarai to tell him that their one-year-old baby who had a stomach infection, had died. Unable to get a bus or a train, he set off on foot with one thought in his head — “to see the child one last time” but was reportedly stopped by Ghaziabad Police near UP Gate. A PTI photo of him breaking down over a phone call at the UP border, broke the Internet as he stuck stranded near the Gazipur flyover for the next three days. Also Read - Coronavirus in Delhi: With 990 New Cases in Last 24 Hours, National Capital Breaches 20,000-Mark
The report reveals that Pandit had begged officials and policemen to let him go and meet his son but they did not listen to him. However a few NGO workers and policemen served him food as he slept under the flyover at night.
Talking to the news agency, while the SSP (Ghaziabad) Kalanidhi Naithani denied of receiving the news of any such case, District Magistrate (East Delhi) Arun Kumar Mishra revealed, “Our team is on the field, looking out for people to give food to and offer help. When they found out about Pandit, they dropped him to the railway station where an evening train took him to Bihar.”
Pandit, whose wife and three daughters were worried about him since he had been crying for days, finally boarded a special migrant train to Bihar along with hundreds of others and reached Begusarai where he was taken to an MCD school to be screened for COVID-19. He expressed, “I am hopeful that I will meet my family soon. But what hurts the most is not the struggle near the border, it is that my family had to perform the last rites of my child without me. I won’t be able to see my son again.”
We wish the family immense strength and patience to bear the loss and we hope that Pandit and all the other migrant workers stranded out there, reunite with their loved ones soon!