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Bareilly: Migrant workers returning home sprayed with disinfectant, DM says probe underway

In the video, one of the officials is heard asking the migrants to keep their eyes shut. When showered with the chemical mixed water, some of the migrants had their luggage with them.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow |
Updated: March 30, 2020 6:02:18 pm
Migrant Workers, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh A screengrab of the video shows the migrant workers squatting on the road as a health worker sprays them with sanitiser solution.

A video showing migrant workers being sprayed with a stream of water mixed with disinfectant upon their returning to Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly has sparked a controversy on Monday. The district administration said that the matter is being investigated and action will be taken against those responsible.

Reflecting on the incident, District Magistrate Nitish Kumar said that the migrant workers had come from Delhi to Satellite Bus Terminal at Bareilly where the Bareilly Nagar Nigam and Fire Brigade teams sprayed them with water mixed with Sodium Hypochlorite, which is used on large scale for surface purification, bleaching, odour removal and water disinfection. He further said that those affected are being treated under the direction of the district Chief Medical Officer.

The video showed around 40 migrant workers sitting on the roadside in full clothes, including women, while water cannon were showered on them through fire tenders by men in white protective kit. In the video, one of the officials is heard asking the migrants to keep their eyes shut. When showered with the chemical mixed water, some of the migrants had their luggage with them.

According to medical experts, depending on the level of chlorine, the mixture used can cause burning and itching if applied on the skin. The chemical can cause more problems if it reaches the eyes.

India lockdown diary, Day 4: PM appeals people to donate against Covid-19; Indian Railways isolation coach Migrant labourers, carrying their belongings, walk several hundred kilometers from cities to reach their towns/villages (Express Photo by Gajendra Yadav)

“The video has been investigated and those affected are being treated under the direction of the Chief Medical Officer. Earlier the Bareilly Nagar Nigam and Fire Brigade teams were directed to sanitize the buses coming, but being over-active they did this. Directions have been issued for action against those responsible,” Bareilly DM Nitish Kumar tweeted in Hindi.

Earlier in the day, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra requested the Uttar Pradesh government to avoid doing such “inhumane” acts. “It is requested from the UP government that we all are fighting against this disaster, but please do not do such inhumane acts. These labourers have already suffered a lot. Do not bathe them in chemicals like this. This will not help them but only create more health issues for them,” tweeted Priyanka.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav also attacked the government over the incident. Mayawati suggested the government to run a few special trains to help the migrant workers safely reach their homes. In a tweet, Mayawati said, “Several pictures of ignorance and oppression are common in the media during this forced lockdown, but punishing migrant labours by showering disinfectant on them in Bareilly is cruel and inhumane. This is highly condemnable. The government should look at this.”

“It would have been better that instead of sealing state borders and leaving the families of thousands of migrant labourers hungry and helpless, the central government had made things easier for them by running 2-4 special trains for them to reach their houses,” she said in another tweet.

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