Coronavirus lockdown: Migrant workers at a bus stand in Karnataka
Every single day, hundreds of migrant workers turn up at the satellite bus stand off Mysuru Road on the outskirts of Bengaluru. They keep coming, despite being chased away with lathis. They come in the hope of getting into a bus that will take them to a train that will finally take them home to Bihar.
At a bus stand, a group of men are seen coming out. They are being chased by a policeman, wielding his lathi and shouting at them to go away. When asked what was going on, all of them said they were from Bihar and a train was leaving from a neighbouring district later in the afternoon.
"We have come here to go on the bus," said a man with determination. "Not to see what is happening, but to go."
"We made so many requests but it is not happening. We are not able to register. They are chasing us away. We are asking them to send us home so that we can somehow survive," said another. "They lathi charge us. They hit us and chase us."
Another man was emotional. "They have been chasing us away like this for 15 days. This has been hardship for two months. We don't have work, nothing to eat or drink. Even if we come in the night, they lathi-charge us. They are doing that now too. We stay in the rooms, which is difficult. See how many are here, being lathi-charged," he said.
"We went to the police station to register. With the Aaadhar card, with the forms. But who will listen to us? We have done it online also. We can't see if people at home die. They can't see us if we die. If we starve to death, let it be at home," the man said.
Another young man said, "They call us and make us stand. We stand there then they tell us it is full and beat us to make us go away."
In the blazing afternoon heat, desperate to go home, these men get thrashed for trying to get into a bus stand. "We get beaten. But we still come. What can we do? We are helpless," said another man.
The police were making announcements in Hindi to ask people to leave. But for these desperate migrants, the bus stand is the first step home, over 2,000 km away.