On March 28, a message came on the mobile of Mukesh Kumar, living in Ahmedabad. This message was sent by a friend of his. The message was that ‘Tonight many buses of Uttarakhand Transport are reaching Ahmedabad. These buses will return to Uttarakhand tomorrow in the morning, you too can return to your home.
Mukesh is originally from Uttarakhand. For the past few years, he was working in a hotel in Ahmedabad. When the hotel closed due to the lockdown, he lost his job. Like all migrant workers across the country, Mukesh felt like returning to his village. But they could not do so as all public transport was not available. Then on March 28, when suddenly a friend’s message came that Uttarakhand transport vehicles were coming to Ahmedabad, they did not believe it at first.
Mukesh felt that his friend might have pranked by sending a message. When the traffic across the country has come to a standstill and the borders of all the states have been sealed, then how can, Uttarakhand transport buses will come to Ahmedabad that too 1200 km away. On the other hand, a part of his mind also wanted to believe this message and was constantly thinking that the Uttarakhand government might have sent some buses to Ahmedabad to help people like him.
On the same night, Mukesh Kumar saw that many super luxury buses of Uttarakhand Transport were lining up on the main road in front of his hotel. There was no place for his happiness left. He immediately contacted his other migrant colleagues from Uttarakhand and started preparing to return to his village. Mukesh and his colleagues together inquired the time of the return of these buses from the driver.
Mukesh Kumar says- “The next morning, on March 29, around 10 o’clock we all reached near these buses. We were 13 colleagues in a bus. The driver of our bus told us that you have to pay a total fare of 18 thousand rupees up to Rishikesh. We found it strange but we had no choice. We were helpless, so we got ready and we together 13 people immediately gave 18 thousand rupees to the driver. We thought that at least during this difficult time, we will somehow reach home. But even that did not happen.
Mukesh and his colleagues took these buses of Uttarakhand transport from Ahmedabad, but before reaching Uttarakhand, in the dark of night, some people were taken to Rajasthan and some to Haryana. In fact, all these buses were not supposed to take the citizens of Uttarakhand like Mukesh trapped in Gujarat but instead, these were ordered to bring back some of the citizens of Gujarat trapped in Haridwar to Ahmedabad.
Ashwani Kumar, secretary to the Chief Minister of Gujarat, told that – “Around 1800 people from different districts of Gujarat were stranded in Haridwar. With the special efforts of Union Minister Mansukhbhai Mandaviya and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, arrangements were made to evacuate these people from Haridwar to their homes. ”Due to this arrangement, many vehicles of Uttarakhand Transport reached Ahmedabad from Haridwar. Interestingly, this work was done with such secrecy that even the transport minister of Uttarakhand did not get the news that many buses of his department had gone for 1200 km crossing the borders of many states during the lockdown.
An order issued on March 27 shows that these vehicles of Uttarakhand Transport were sent directly to Gujarat under the instructions of the Chief Minister’s Office. Their purpose was to bring the people of Gujarat trapped in Haridwar to their homes. While returning, the same vehicles could have brought the people of Uttarakhand stranded in Gujarat, but no such order was issued by the Uttarakhand government.
When these buses started leaving from Haridwar and this news became public, the matter started getting surrounded by controversies. Questions started to arise that when people are stuck in different places all over the country due to the lockdown and people of many different states are stuck in Uttarakhand too, why are special buses being run only for the people of Gujarat? Along with this, questions also arose that why no bus was run for the migrants from Uttarakhand who are forced to return on foot from all places? At the same time, questions also arose that when the buses have left for Ahmedabad, then why should these buses return empty, they could have brought the people of Uttarakhand trapped there.
This was the time when these things started spreading fast on social media. Therefore, before the arrival of these buses to Ahmedabad, the news of these buses reached all the people like Mukesh Kumar as an expectation. Now the pressure on the Uttarakhand government also increased. When the State Transport Minister was asked questions in this regard, it was revealed that he too had no idea about the departure of these buses.
On increasing pressure, the Uttarakhand government announced that the returning buses would return with migrants staying in Gujarat, but no concrete steps were taken in this direction. As a result, dozens of Uttarakhand migrants like Mukesh Kumar, who was happy about returning to their homes were left in the middle of the ocean. All these people are still stranded in different areas of Rajasthan and Haryana.
It is also necessary to discuss some other important questions related to this matter before discussing the situation of Mukesh and his colleagues. These questions are connected to the people that led this whole episode. That is, the people who were stuck in Haridwar, and the buses were specially organized to bring them back to Gujarat.
It is being told that some people of Gujarat had reached Haridwar to participate in some religious ritual. These people are being described as close to the Prime Minister and Home Minister, who are from the same state. It is also clear from the official statement of Ashwani Kumar, Secretary to the Chief Minister of Gujarat, that while millions of people are trapped here and there across the country, these people trapped in Haridwar were taken out after special intervention by the Home Minister directly.
On the other hand, there are people like Mukesh Kumar, who had hope to return to their home after seeing the buses coming from their state, but they were left by the buses in the middle of the road in the mid-night. Mukesh says- “We reached the Haryana border around 3 am. Our driver came and told us that the police have stopped ahead and they are not letting the vehicles full of rides cross the border. The driver said that you guys get down and go on the other side of the border, and then I will make you sit again inside the bus. We obeyed him, but he did not stop after that. We spent all night on the road. Then we reached Bawal (Haryana) after walking several kilometers and since that day we all are staying in a school. No vehicle came to pick us up as we called a number of government authorities to help us.
Story of Himalaya from Gandhinagar:
Similar, incident happened with Himalaya and his colleagues living in Rudraprayag. Himalaya used to work at the Krishna Hotel in Gandhinagar (Gujarat). On March 29, he too was returning from a similar Uttarakhand transport bus but was offloaded in the Alwar district of Rajasthan along with about 40 of his other colleagues. All these people are still stranded there and are living in a hostel.
People trapped in Udaipur:
So many people are also trapped in Udaipur and other parts of Rajasthan. Puneet Kandari is one of these who used to work in a hotel called Orchid on Ahmedabad Ring Road. Puneet says – “We are total 49 people that has been stranded here since 29th of March. The bus was supposed to take us ahead and we were boarded down in the middle of the road here in the night. The police were driving us away from here. We did not know what to do. Then we called our MLA Manoj Rawat. He was the one who spoke to someone and made arrangements for our lodging. ‘
Statement given by congress MLA Manoj Rawat:
Congress MLA from Kedarnath Manoj Rawat says, “When I got a call from these boys, I could not believe their words at first. I felt that when the whole country is closed, how can Uttarakhand transport buses can go to Gujarat. Then I called Transport Minister Yashpal Arya ji but he also did not pick up the phone. When the whole matter came to light from several other places, I wrote a letter to the Nodal Officer appointed for Coronavirus and the Minister in charge that all these people should be helped immediately. Even after this, when there was no way for these people to come back, finally I contacted some acquaintances living in Rajasthan and then they arranged things for these people. ‘
How did the migrants react to the whole scenario?
These migrants from Uttarakhand who have been trapped in different cities of Rajasthan and Haryana says- “We were staying in Gujarat only until these buses were not made available.” Even though work was closed and wages were not available, but our accommodation was arranged by our Seth. When we saw that the vehicles from our state had come to Gujarat, then only we thought of returning. ”Puneet Kandari says, “We are ready to stay away from everybody for 14 days, but we just want to reach Uttarakhand. Why are we left here in such an unknown area? After what has happened to us and the situation in which we have been left here, will our Chief Minister ever be able to shake eyes with us and say – Awa apun ghaur. ‘
To deal with the problem of migration, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivandrum Singh Rawat recently appealed to all the youth working outside the state – ‘Aava apun ghaur’, which means ‘Come home.’
Incidents other than this that are violating the rules of 21 days loackdown:
There are many other events apart from this is happening in the country when the whole country is in a complete lockdown due to the coronavirus.
- the very first activity that took place on March 25, when Yogi Adityanath a senior member of the leading party gathered a gathering of priests from different states and organized an event of moving the statue of Lord Ram at Ayodhya despite the lockdown he attended this event when there was a complete ban on attending the social gatherings.
- Everyone is aware of the incidence that took place at the Nizamuddin, Tablighi jamaat Markaz where over 3,400 people from different states were gathered at the Nizamuddin area for the Tablighi Jamaat event. what happened is not at all acceptable because when the whole world is suffering severely from the coronavirus crisis these people did not even care about their own lives.
- The honorable chief minister of Karnataka Mr. B S Yediyurappa, attended a wedding in Belagavi where thousands of people were gathered to attend the function despite the ban on organizing such social events due to the spread of coronavirus.
- The next careless activity done by the people and the government itself is this 1800 people going together from Gujarat to Haridwar to attend some religious event.
- in Solapur, Maharashtra hundreds of people were gathered in the temple to celebrate the Ram Navami. when police arrived and requested them to evacuate the place the public got violent and pelted stones on the policemen.
- In Bihar, police and medical personnel were attacked by locals in Munger town when they reached there to collect the samples of suspected coronavirus patients.
Now, the question arises that in a situation where the whole country is in a complete lockdown because of the coronavirus which is spreading rapidly. Why did these people went to Haridwar for attending a religious event, is the religion is more important to these people than their own lives?And the more stupendous thing is that these buses were allowed to run under the special orders from Gujrat’s Chief Minister and The Home Minister Amit Shah especially for the people of Gujarat. Then why do they blame the whole Muslim community on the recent activities that took place in Tablighi jamaat Markaz, where 3,400 people attended this meet and 800 were suspected to had coronavirus symptoms we agree that what happened was not at all acceptable but it doesn’t mean that particularly targeting one community will give solutions to this problem.
What people did with the policemen and the doctors in Solapur and Bihar was not at all right as these people are risking their own lives to just make sure that nothing happens to you and your family.
Rather, every religion or community be it Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christians, there are two categories of people everywhere the one having education, awareness and understanding and the other category belongs to some stupid people who are not enough educated and aware and do certain things under the name of religion. The world is full of these kinds of people not in a particular religion or community but in fact, in every community and religion, there is a superstition that leads people to do acts like these. In such a situation if a bunch of people in a community is wrong you cannot blame the whole community because of them.
Also, it’s high time for us to understand that the fight against coronavirus is not among the communities and different religions, but instead it is between humanity and the coronavirus, so it is better to cooperate and fight this together.