June 24th, 2015
In an event that will send chills down your spine, over 100 men, women and children were found being transported inside a windowless shipping container on a truck in UP. The helpless, desperate screams coming from inside the moving truck led to the discovery of this inhuman way of transport.
The truck first drew attention of passersby at Sultanganj Ki Pulia, after which it managed to travel five more kilometers before policeman Raj Narain Uttam heard the screams and spotted desperate hands waving from small openings on the top of the container. The driver allegedly did not stop the truck despite being asked to do so, and was chased 500 meters by the policeman before it stopped.
On opening the container’s doors, the scene was petrifying: Over 100 people were stuffed in the airless box in the steaming heat. Of the nearly 50 children, several had lost consciousness, while others were barely able to stand when freed. They were all wet in sweat and thirsty from hours of confinement.
The group turned out to be agricultural labourers being taken to work from Khaga in Fatehpur district to Govardhan in Mathura, a distance of more than 400 km, to sow rice. They had been shut in the container for the 12 hour span of the journey. After sunrise their condition became terrible, and when they asked the driver to open the door, he refused and locked the container from outside. The driver was later booked for cruelty.
The temperature outside was over 40 degrees Celsius, the container was practically airless and the labourers were stuffed inhumanly for 12 hours in a tiny volume – we probably cannot even dare to imagine what the confined individuals had gone through. Have we really been able to share the essence of freedom with each of our fellow citizens even after 67 years of independence?