Migrant laborers yet again faced a classic example of serious violation of their human rights in broad daylight. According to a media report, Vipin Kumar a 19-year old migrant worker, died en-route to his home town in Hardoi, Uttar Pradesh. The government transportation which he had been waiting for long, was practically unavailable, forcing him to go home on foot.
He embarked on his journey on 12th May from Ludhiana. However, walking 6 days at a stretch without food for over 350 kilometres, caused him to collapse near Saharanpur. Medical help reached too late, for he was beyond the point of saving. Doctors declared the cause of death to be hunger. This is not quite an uncommon feature for migrants; these challenges have become a part of their daily survival. Basic amenities have become a far fetched dream for these laborers.
Steps taken by NHRC
The National Human Rights Commission took suo moto cognizance of this report and demanded an explanation via a notice from the Chief Secretary of the UP Government. Furthermore, it has directed the government to provide details of the current status of migrant labourers stuck in Uttar Pradesh. There seem to be many such labourers who wish to go back to their native places.
The Commission has sought details regarding the steps taken for their safe departure. Citing various instances where the painful conditions of these migrants have been highlighted, the Commission commented that Vipin’s death was not a first-of-its-kind human rights violation. With the COVID19 pandemic, such violations have become rampant, especially by the Yogi Government. Media reports suggest that announcements of shaded shelter in bus stops and tolls by the UP Government are yet to be implemented.
Although the Constitution of India guarantees basic human rights to all, its embodiment is yet to happen. It still needs to reach the deep recesses of our society. Even the poorest of the poor should not be denied their rights.