Ram Pukar Pandit (38), a migrant labourer living in Nawada, was at home when his wife called from Bihar’s Begusarai to tell him that their one-year-old baby died on Monday. He immediately left home with one thought in his head — “to see the child one last time”.
Unable to get a bus or a train, he set off on foot but was stopped by Ghaziabad Police near UP Gate. Stranded near the Gazipur flyover for the next three days, he begged officials and policemen to let him go and meet his son — a PTI photo of him sobbing at the border was shared widely on social media.
He alleged that police didn’t listen to him, but a few NGO workers and policemen served him food and he slept under the flyover at night.
On Thursday, officials from the East district of Delhi dropped him at New Delhi Railway Station and he boarded a special migrant train to Bihar along with hundreds of others. Now, Pandit has reached Begusarai, but was taken to an MCD school to be screened for Covid-19. “I am hopeful that I will meet my family soon. But what hurts the most is not the struggle near the border, it is that my family had to perform the last rites of my child without me. I won’t be able to see my son again,” said Pandit, who was told his child had a stomach infection.
He said he has been crying for days and that his wife and three daughters are worried about him.
A construction labourer, Pandit has been working in Delhi for over a decade and earned Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000 a month. He would meet his family once in two-three months and his younger brother took care of his children back home.
Ghaziabad Police said they didn’t receive any complaint or information about the man. When contacted, SSP (Ghaziabad) Kalanidhi Naithani said, “We don’t know of any such case.”
District Magistrate (East Delhi) Arun Kumar Mishra, who helped Pandit reach home, said his team found out about him. “Our team is on the field, looking out for people to give food to and offer help. When they found out about Pandit, they dropped him to the railway station where an evening train took him to Bihar.”
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