After a prolonged lock down India is preparing to cope up with the Covid 19.Of course the lock down resulted in it's pay off in terms of containing the massive spread of the pandemic. But the country cannot move forward with indefinite lock down however horrifying the threats the pandemic may pose.
Things are getting worse in many parts of the country due to lack and loss of jobs which already have pushed the labourers to the verge of utter hunger and poverty. In some quarters, particularly the migrant employees have become restless. A huge crowd of migrant labourers in Tirupur in Tamil Nadu blocked the main highway protesting against the authorities, no matter whether the state government or the centre. The workers assembled there apparently violating the primary guideline of observing the social distance. It is to be specially noted that such a gathering took place while the spread of Covid 19 is not under control in Tamil Nadu. protesters assembled on the Tirupur highway demanded facilities for their immediate return to native state, and food.
It could be read on their body language rather than their face as many of them wearing masks that they lost the patience. That impatience has to be viewed against the warning that further lock down might lead to hunger deaths in India.
Under the present scenario the migrant laborer’s communities across the country have become the most vulnerable group. Obviously, the vulnerability would lead to impatience and that might lead to restlessness and ultimately violence. At this point a country like India has to be very careful and diligent. Enough number of forces are there to take advantage of the restlessness of any kind and spike violence in the country.
It is high time we realized that death happened on account of hunger was more catastrophic than it due to the pandemic. However, the central government and other state governments also seem to have woken up to that reality. But at the very same time the presence of the invisible enemy has to be rightly acknowledged. The central and state governments acted very responsibly and resourcefully in the wake of the outbreak of the pandemic. The people also by and large responded sensibly to the efforts taken by the governments barring a few isolated incidents. The hard hit due to the lockdown are those who belong to the lower income groups irrespective of the metro cities and the rural areas. They are faced with the dual survival challenges. One is hunger and the other is the pandemic. To them now the priority is not the pandemic, but hunger. The respective governments must roll out immediate and practical measures and projects to address the challenges of these vulnerable sections in the society. That is the most imperative step to arrest the social spread of the pandemic as well. The gathering and protest of the migrant labourers in Tirupur point to that reality.