Since yesterday (28 March), images of labourers leaving Delhi, Mumbai and other employment hubs of the country in hordes during the nationwide lockdown, enforced to prevent the spread of coronavirus, were flashed on television, web and print mediums, setting the tongues of the opposition wagging. “How can we as a nation just leave thousands of migrant workers to fend for themselves? There are men, women and children who are walking as far as Eastern UP and Bihar. We sent planes to bring citizens from Europe, why aren’t we organising transport to take the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us home? It is the government‘s moral duty to help our fellow citizens in this time of crisis. For God’s sake, Modi ji, Amit Shah ji, please use the power you have been given to save their lives,” Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra tweeted about the so-called labourers.
Viewing this as some propaganda mechanism of the Congress-communist combine at work, senior lawyer at Supreme Court Amitabh Sinha said, “Now that Shaheen Bagh has fizzled out due to the coronavirus outbreak, they have readied another tool to attack the government.”
Sinha had just returned from a trip to more than a score of relief centres set up across the capital city by Delhi Police, the Delhi government, RSS’s Seva Bharati, etc. He said philanthropists and donors like him were asked to not offer any more aid for the poor as they already had more than enough. “Nobody who is informed is going hungry,” Sinha asserted.
Not only that, the lawyer said, but both union and state governments are sending food to the slums (where the labourers live) too. “While the food supply might not have reached a few people,” he said, “such stray and sporadic examples cannot be cited to claim the governments and the NGOs are apathetic or are not trying to help the poor.”
‘They may not be poor labourers but an ideologically and politically driven force’
The lawyer, an alumnus of JNU and scholar of history, rubbished the claim that the images seen on television were poor people. “Look at their clothes,” he said, pointing at the denim, other expensive clothing and snickers almost the entire crowd of men in the pictures were seen in.
“They have this mechanism of propaganda forever ready,” Sinha said. “When one attempt fails, they prop up another,” he added.
In fact, in a video of the so-called labourers, someone can be heard directing them how to move on the street, indicating that this was a political rally rather than a spontaneous exodus of people. “They are waging a political and ideological war on the state,” Sinha said.
“If there are indeed a few poor people in these crowds, they have been instigated. And if they are not poor, you know what the game is. They are mere political actors,” Sinha said.
“Agencies must investigate who or what organisations are behind such repeated dramas. They are making a mockery of the plight of the poor with such shenanigans. They are causing the poor a lot of harm,” the lawyer said.
“Since the mobilisation for Shaheen Bagh prototypes across the country was based on religion, it failed to impress a large section of the demography. So, now they are propping up the poor,” Sinha said.
“Intelligence agencies must find out where these ‘labourers’ were living before they were seen on the streets. If they had been living in slums, governments, police and NGOs like RSS are sending aid to all slums and ensuring nobody goes hungry,” the lawyer said, adding that somebody hoodwinked them into believing that if they stayed in homes longer, they would starve to death. “Studying just 10% of the sample will do,” Sinha said, adding, “If the landlords threw them out, such landlords must be prosecuted.”
Enforce Section 51-54, NDMA 2005, Section 188 IPC
“This is my suggestion as well as demand that the government, after instituting an inquiry into the frequent street mobilisation, try the culprits under Sections 51 to 54 of the National Disaster Management Act of 2005 and Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code,” the lawyer told Sirf News.
Sinha said that under the NDMA, 2005, “this is a cognisable offence”.