This Article is From May 08, 2020

Refused A Car, Mother Carries 17-Day-Old Baby, Walks Home Amid Lockdown

In another part of Mumbai, a group of 15 men - all migrants - have begun cycling from Mumbai to their village in Bihar's Darbhanga, a journey of nearly 2,000 km

Coronavirus: Migrants say special trains meant to take them home take too long


Amid the chaos and fear caused by the coronavirus outbreak, a woman with a 17-day-old-infant in her arms has been left with no option but to walk nearly 600 kilometres from Mumbai to Washim in the Vidharbha region of the state, after she was refused permission to hire a car.

The young woman has been walking for several days now amid searing temperatures and is left with no food for the rest of her journey.

She was in hospital 17 days ago for the birth of her child, where both she and her child tested negative for COVID-19 infection. Once out of hospital, she applied to Mumbai Police for permission to hire a car to return home. That permission was denied.

Last month Mumbai Police said it would consider applications from people wishing to leave the city that, like the rest of the country, is under a strict lockdown limiting movement of people and vehicles.

In a tweet, the police said requests to leave the city must be "owing to unavoidable reasons".

It is unclear if the woman's request to leave was filed under this category.

A number of tragic stories about migrant workers families have emerged from Maharashtra this week, including that of a group of 20 walking from Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai to their village in Buldhana, a distance of over 480 kilometres.

"I sit once in a while...," Nikita, a pregnant woman who is part of that group of 20, told NDTV. She began her walk at 7 pm on Wednesday and told NDTV she had been on the road for 12 hours.

In another part of Mumbai, a group of 15 young men - all migrant workers - have begun cycling from Mumbai to their village in Bihar's Darbhanga, a journey of nearly 2,000 km.

Migrants say they are choosing to make the journey on foot, despite limited resources and punishing weather, because "shramik (worker)" trains being organised by the government take too long.

Lakhs of migrant workers, daily wagers, students and others had been left stranded after the coronavirus lockdown came into effect in March. With no money or jobs, and inter-state transportation shut, they were left with no choice but to walk, often thousands of kilometres, home.

Last week the centre, after reportedly being forced to act by concern over a political backlash, said special trains would ferry migrants, providing they had completed quarantine and tested negative.

Maharashtra, the worst-affected state in this coronavirus outbreak, has reported nearly 17,000 cases and 651 deaths, so far. Across India the number of COVID-19 cases has crossed 50,000 and 1,783 deaths have been confirmed.