This Article is From Mar 29, 2020

Pregnant Woman Turned Back By Delhi Cops As Migrants Struggle To Get Home

Coronavirus Lockdown: With all public transport stopped, many left without food, shelter and income had been forced to undertake journeys for hundreds of kilometres on foot

Coronavirus Updates: Ganeshi was forced to return by cops after having walked five kilometres

New Delhi:

A 20-year-old woman from Uttar Pradesh's Mahoba district - who is a migrant worker living in Delhi and is nine months pregnant - was forced to return home by the police despite walking five kilometres on her way to the capital's Anand Vihar Bus Terminal.

Ganeshi, the young woman, was hoping to find a way home amid the uncertainty among migrants nationwide that followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 21-day "total lockdown", which has left them without a job or money, to fight the spread of the infectious COVID-19 virus.

"What will we do now that there is no work? My daughter-in-law is full-term (nine months pregnant). What will we do if something happens to her? We want to go to Mahoba near Jhansi. That is our hometown," Ganesh's mother-in-law told NDTV today.

"We have no money to pay rent and nothing to eat. What will we do?" she added.

Ganeshi and her mother-in-law were among a large group of migrant labourers - including small children - forced to walk from Delhi's Chattarpur, where they lived and worked, to the Anand Vihar terminal.

When NDTV spoke to them, they still had 30 kilometres to travel in this searing heat but had been sent back by police, as interstate borders have been closed due to the lockdown.


20-year-old Ganeshi is a migrant labourer from UP and is nine months pregnant

There were several others like Ganeshi.

Shahid, 30, who was hoping to return to UP's Bareilly, had some relief courtesy the Central Reserve Police Force (CPRF), which today went around the city distributing food.

The bowl of khichdi he got was his first meal in 24 hours.

"I used to work as a courier boy. But now all work is shut. I don't have money so am going back to Bareilly with my wife and eight-month-old son. He survives on milk and what food I have I give to my wife. This is the first time I am eating food," he said.

The lockdown, meant to halt the spread of a highly infectious novel coronavirus that transmits rapidly in crowded spaces, has hit the poorer sections of society the hardest - particularly those who rely on daily wages to survive.

The suspension of interstate bus and railway services has added to their worries, leaving some migrants with no option but to walk hundreds of kilometres home.

As harrowing stories of men, women and infants undertaking punishing treks - including one instance of a young man walking 150 kilometres with his wife and two young children - emerged, the Uttar Pradesh and Delhi governments responded Saturday by arranging buses to ferry people home.

The sheer number of men, women and children led to distressing scenes at bus terminals across Delhi late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, leading police to clamp down on further arrivals and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy, Manish Sisodia, to plead with them to stay back and not risk spreading the virus any further.


Thousands of migrants had gathered at Delhi's Anand Vihar Bus Terminal on Saturday night

"We were walking to Anand Vihar but police asked us to return. We work in Chattarpur as daily labourers and used to stay in our workplace. But all work is shut now and we have no place to eat or stay," one of the men in the group told NDTV.

In some places, as the cops stopped the migrants, they assured them they would take them home - their Delhi homes - in buses.

"We have orders and we have been telling these people there are no more buses from Anand Vihar. They will end up taking the illness to their villages if they go. We are giving them food here," DK Srivastava, Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range) told NDTV.

When asked how they could survive in Delhi without a job, he said: "There are night shelters where food is served. Police are ensuring nobody in Delhi goes hungry".

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra have accused the centre of failing to plan for such contingencies as this; Mr Gandhi tweeted twice on Saturday, saying "the government is responsible for this terrible condition" and that it was "shameful we have allowed Indian citizen to be treated this way".

The central government responded by denying that a lack of planning had led to this crisis, saying India's response had been "pre-emptive, pro-active and graded".

This morning the Prime Minister apologised for "taking these harsh steps" that had caused "difficulties" in the lives of millions of poor people across India.

Across the country there are close to 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with at least 25 deaths linked to the virus. Worldwide more than 5.75 lakh people have been infected and over 26,000 killed, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).


Coronavirus has spread to 200 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 67,69,38,430 and 68,84,572 have died; 62,55,71,965 are active cases and 4,44,81,893 have recovered as on January 9, 2024 at 10:54 am.


4,50,19,214 475Cases
3,919 -83Active
4,44,81,893 552Recovered
5,33,402 6Deaths
In India, there are 4,50,19,214 confirmed cases including 5,33,402 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,919 and 4,44,81,893 have recovered as on January 9, 2024 at 8:00 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths