It Is A Human Tragedy: Madras HC Slams Centre, State On Migrant Crisis

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The Logical Indian Crew

'It Is A Human Tragedy': Madras HC Slams Centre, State On Migrant Crisis

The Madras High Court has given the Centre and state time till May 22 to respond to several questions about its measures to tackle the migrant crisis.

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The "pathetic condition of migrant labourers...is nothing but a human tragedy," said the Madras High Court on Saturday, commenting on lakhs of migrants trying to return to home states amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Lashing out at both the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government for failing to "care for their (the migrants) safety and well-being", the court questioned the governments over measures undertaken to address the concerns of the migrants, demanding to see state-wise data on the crisis.

"It is a pity to see the migrant labourers walking for days together to reach their native places and in the process, some of them had lost their lives due to accidents. All states should have extended their human services to those migrant labourers," Justices N Kirubakaran and R Hemalatha observed.

"One cannot control their tears after seeing the pathetic condition of migrant labourers shown in the media for the last month. It is nothing but a human tragedy," the court added, referring to the 16 migrants who were crushed to death by a goods train in Maharashtra's Aurangabad last week.

Soon after the court's remarks, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami requested migrants to "stay put in camps" and assured them of help.

"We are coordinating with other states to send you back by trains. Stay put in camps till then. We are footing train fare and travel costs," the CM said.

The Madras High Court has given the Centre and state time till May 22 to respond to several questions about its measures to tackle the migrant crisis.

The court had also asked the Centre if there was any data available regarding migrants in each state, pointing that it would be helpful in identifying them and helping them return home.

It also demanded to know how many migrants have died, which states they belonged to and if there was any provision to compensate their families.

The court called for data on those sent by special trains run by the Railways also asking if the mass migration of workers was one of the reasons for the spread of the COVID-19 in the country.

These comments by the Madras HC came after the Supreme Court refused to direct the government to provide shelter or free transportation to migrant workers, saying that it was impossible for anyone to stop them from walking back to their homes. "How do you stop people who want to keep walking? Can anyone go and stop them? Impossible for anyone to stop them," bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjay Kaul and BR Gavai said.

Lakhs of migrants were left without wages, food or shelter amid the nationwide lockdown. With public transport shut, they had no choice but to walk hundreds, often thousands of kilometres home.

Also Read: 'How Can We Stop This If They Sleep on Tracks?' Supreme Court On 16 Migrant Workers Killed In Aurangabad

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