AGENCIES, Bareilly (UP): In a shocking video that has gone viral, migrant labourers who had made their way to Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh were sprayed with what is believed to be some kind of disinfectant that supposedly kills coronavirus.
In the video, district officials can he heard yelling at the men, women and children to close their eyes.
The batch of migrants in the video had returned to UP over the weekend after special buses were arranged for them. Among those watching the “disinfecting” operation are some policemen.
After the clip led to criticism of the district administration, an official said: “The migrants were sprayed with a mix of chlorine and water… No chemical solution was used. We asked them to keep their eyes shut…We did not mean to be inhuman… It was important to sanitise everyone and there was a huge rush as large number of people had returned. So we did what we thought was best.”
यूपी सरकार से गुजारिश है कि हम सब मिलकर इस आपदा के खिलाफ लड़ रहे हैं लेकिन कृपा करके ऐसे अमानवीय काम मत करिए।
मजदूरों ने पहले से ही बहुत दुख झेल लिए हैं। उनको केमिकल डाल कर इस तरह नहलाइए मत। इससे उनका बचाव नहीं होगा बल्कि उनकी सेहत के लिए और खतरे पैदा हो जाएंगे। pic.twitter.com/ftovaFHR5q
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) March 30, 2020
While they deny dehumanising the migrants and their children, the video gives an impression that batches are being mass-sprayed.
The clip was investigated, Bareilly District Magistrate said in a tweet. “Under Chief Minister’s Office’s supervision, those affected are being treated. The civic body and fire brigade team were asked to sanitise buses… but they did this because they were overzealous. Action has been initiated against officials concerned,” he wrote.
Opposition leaders have attacked the district administration, calling the action inhuman. “I appeal to the government in UP… all of us are fighting together against this crisis (coronavirus). Please don’t indulge into such inhuman actions. The labourers have already suffered a lot. Don’t spray chemicals on them. This won’t protect them… rather it would harm their health,” Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted in Hindi.
In a series of tweets, former UP chief minister and BSP chief Mayawati wrote: “During this stringent nationwide lockdown, numerous pictures have emerged of injustice from across the country… but spraying of disinfectants on migrants in Bareilly is an example of sheer cruelty, injustice. The government should pay attention immediately.”