Baees/22 March (the day of the 14 hour ‘voluntary’ lockdown) and Chaubees/24 March (the beginning of the longer nation-wide lockdown) were permanently imprinted in the minds of migrant workers as the hard date after which they could be certain of nothing.
The news on 2nd June that almost 200 migrant workers had been killed in road accidents while walking to their home villages in India was shocking but perhaps unsurprising. The country’s lockdown had sparked the biggest mass exodus since Partition, with millions forced to trudge hundreds of miles in dangerous conditions. Nadia Nooreyezdan charts the impact on some of the world’s most vulnerable people, and asks what their experience tells us about life in Modi’s India.
Isn’t it odd that even a nationally constituted body such as the ILC was not consulted before the passage of codes that are going to affect 90% of the workforce? For the nearly 50 crore ‘informal’ workers in India, the codes come as another cruel joke when the embers of the largest crisis for workers have not died down.
Arvind lives with his wife and two small children in Delhi. His eldest child is 3 years old, and he and his wife also a three-month-old baby. Before the lockdown, he drove his autorickshaw. With the lockdown, he had no source of money. He called us and was one of our earliest cases marked urgent….