Srinagar: A picture showing a man hauling up a baby onto a truck jam-packed with migrant labourers trying to head home in COVID-19 lockdown is breaking the internet.
The photo from Raipur Chhattisgarh has men, women and kids swarming in a truck to head home.
Clutched on to the side ropes of the truck, a man can be seen hauling up a toddler onto the vehicle as the child’s mother is seen on the road ready to catch the kid in case the man loses the grip.
The picture depicts the plight of thousands of migrant workers and their families who are desperately trying to reach home after losing their jobs and having nothing to feed to themselves and their dependents.
Thousands of such labourers and workers have set on foot, while many are seen jostling for space in any vehicle to hitch-hike their way back home.
A nearly 20-second video of the same incident too has gone viral.
Since the lockdown in late March, migrants have been leaving bigger cities to go back to their villages. Many of them have walked hundreds of kilometres, some of them have died before they could complete their journey.
Last week, 16 migrants in a group of 20 were run over by a cargo train in Maharashtra while they were sleeping on tracks. They started walking from Jalna to reach Madhya Pradesh and slept on rail tracks, assuming trains were not running, said police.
On Sunday, five migrants in another group of 20 were killed in Madhya Pradesh when a truck they were travelling in overturned.
Some labourers who began their journey from Telangana told a news channel that they could not find any other way to reach home so they hitched a ride on a truck. “What do we do… we are helpless. We have to go to Jharkhand. There is no other way,” said an old man.
On being asked about special trains launched by the central government earlier this month for the labourers, he said: “We could not find any information that could help us take the journey.”
An official from the state transport department who was standing close to the truck, watching the chaos, said: “There are no other means of transport. Administration has to facilitate special buses for them. I am from transport department but I can’t arrange for buses at my level.”