Rahul Gandhi Makes An Appeal As Migrants March Home Amid Lockdown

Thousands of migrants - left jobless by the COVID-19 shutdown- have been marching to their homes, covering a journey of hundreds of kilometres on foot, since a nationwide 21-day lockdown over COVID-19 began on Wednesday.

Rahul Gandhi Makes An Appeal As Migrants March Home Amid Lockdown

Rahul Gandhi urged people to help migrant labourers. (File)

New Delhi:

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi this morning tweeted an appeal to help the migrants trying to reach their homes as India enters fourth day of a "total lockdown" for three weeks, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday to control spread of coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.

Rahul Gandhi urged people across the country to help the migrants by offering food or shelter as they undertake arduous journeys. "Today, hundreds of our starved brothers and sisters, along with their families, are forced to head to homes in their villages on foot. Help them if you can by offering them food, shelter as they undertake an arduous journey... special appeal to Congress workers, supporters. Jai Hind!" he wrote in Hindi.

Thousands of migrants - left jobless by the COVID-19 shutdown- have been marching to their homes, covering a journey of hundreds of kilometres on foot, since a nationwide 21-day lockdown over COVID-19 began on Wednesday.

All transport services are shut, including passenger trains and interstate buses, in a bid to curb COVID-19 spread. Huge numbers had crammed onto trains and buses before the country of 1.3 billion people ground to a halt for three weeks, but many others were left stranded.

Chief Ministers of three states - Bengal, Bihar and Odisha - which send the maximum number of labourers across the country, have been taking initiative to ensure the safety of these people.

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O' Brien this morning tweeted: "A drop in the ocean... Migrant workers badly hit. 40 from Bengal stranded in Chennai contacted us.We reached out to @mkstalin His team met & are taking care. Thx much. Under Bengal CM,migrant workers from diff States being given food/shelter. TN-Bengal teamwork #Covid19India."

In Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed authorities to ensure transport facilities for these people.

Heartbreaking visuals from different parts of India that show distressed daily wagers undertaking long journeys with families, children have evoked strong responses from political leaders.

On Friday, Congress's Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wrote a letter to Yogi Adityanath. "Some labourers have started walking home on foot. Some very painful pictures emerged untill last night. It's a request that the steps taken to send stranded labourers home should be done in a proper way. If a large number of people are stranded, then government schools and colleges should be used as temporary shelter-homes, and later, the labourers can be sent home," Mrs Vadra said in the letter.

This morning, Kerala Finance Minister tweeted: "Pictures of exodus of migrant worker families trekking homeward is reminiscent of partition days."

So far, India has reported 873 cases of coronavirus after recording the highest jump with 149 new cases in last 24 hours; at least 19 people have died.