In a heartbreaking incident, a migrant worker in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan stole a bicycle to reach his hometown in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly. In his desperate attempt to reach home, the worker cycled over 250 kilometres with his disabled son.
According to reports, Mohammad Iqbal stole the cycle from the house of Sahab Singh in Rarah village of Bharatpur district on Monday night, May 11. He left behind a note apologizing to the cycle owner, reported Hindustan Times.
Singh reportedly found the handwritten note while sweeping the veranda of his house.
"Main majdoor hun, majboor bhi. Main aapka gunehgar hu. Aapki cycle lekar ja raha hu. Mujhe maaf kar dena. Mujhe Bareily tak jana he. Mere pass koi sadhan nahi he aur viklang baccha hai (I am your culprit. But, I am a labourer and also helpless. I'm taking your bicycle. Forgive me. I have no other means to reach and I have a specially-abled child. I have to go to Bareilly)," read Iqbal's apology note.
Hindustan Times quoted Rajeev Gupta who is a sociologist as saying that Iqbal's act has again brought to the fore, the plight of the migrant labourers who have been rendered helpless amid coronavirus lockdown.
The sociologist further adds that it also points to the failure of the governments. Even before imposing lockdown and with the gradual extensions, the government should have arranged a mechanism to ferry the migrants home but it didn't happen.
Gupta said that the workers have been hungry for months. Unemployed and a meagre saving has brought difficult times for them and their families.
He also stated that the owners and the contractors who employed these workers did not treat them well as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. They were left to fend for themselves without food or pending wages.
"That's why people are forced to do things which may be legally wrong. Because of the ignorant attitude of the state, it is happening for the first time in the country that people are moving to villages from cities. Generally, people from villages migrate to big towns in search of employment and opportunities," Gupta said.
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