Was Aurangabad incident a mere accident or the picture of a failed Lockdown?

A failed lockdown, uneducated labors, or the train driver, who should be held responsible for the death of 16 labors?

The death of 16 migrant laborers on a railway track amid coronavirus lockdown once again awaken the media, politicians, and the nation. The incident was reported in the wee hours of Friday. Around 05:30 am when about a dozen labors were run over by a goods train near Aurangabad. 14 laborers died on the spot, and two died in the hospital, while few escaped with minor bruises. The accident sparked a debate between state govt, center govt, and the opposition. But who should be held responsible for killing 16 innocent laborers? Was it the fault of the government or the laborers for sleeping on the tracks?

Are tracks a place to sleep 

A lot of people on social media arguably blamed the migrants for sleeping on the tracks. Saying that the tracks are not meant to sleep, and no one is responsible for their death, but they solely are. Adding a counter statement and to educate the Twitterati, here are a few words for them. The laborers did not have the idea or even a second thought that trains were running during the lockdown. The laborers are those unfortunate people of the society who have lived half of their lives living on the roadside. When everything is shut, how could those uneducated and unaware laborers have expected a train crushing them when they were said the lockdown had stopped the train services? In a complete nationwide lockdown, they didn’t know that goods train were operational?

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Could the accident be avoided?   

To get the answer, let’s analyze the situation and back in time when PM Narendra Modi announced a 21-days nationwide lockdown on March 24 without any prior notice. The decision made lakhs of migrant laborers stranded and stuck in the other states miles away from their hometown without even a source of income.

After that, the lockdown was extended thricd. The lockdown was the right call by PM Modi as the situation demanded it, but it was poorly executed. There was no proper communication with the state governments, no proper advisory to the citizen, and no plan for the future. Lockdown panicked all migrants who suddenly lost their earning source and left by their landlords with a few bucks or even without their salary. With no job and no shelter, they had to leave the big cities to return to their hometowns, but due to the closure of transportation services, they had to either stay or walk a thousand miles. Few waited in the hope that it will get over after 21 days, and few left. But lockdown 2 made the situation worse, and lockdown 3 made it a do-or-die situation.

The accident was easily and completely avoidable if the state government and the central government took all the measures precautions before implementing the lockdown 2. During the phase of lockdown , it was an emergency, but during those 21 days, the government had enough time to settle the migrant labors’ problems and send them to their homes. Why the central government waited and did not take any steps to resolve the internal immigration problem, despite it was reported in mass numbers across the nation.

Read more: Migrant Workers still confused over ‘Train Fare’: Politics in crisis will fail us as a Nation

If thousands of riches can be brought back to the country, why can’t these laborers be sent to their hometowns?

The pandemic closed all the international airports and air traveling worldwide, making all the international students stranded in other countries. The Indian government, however, brought many students to India by special operations. Students from China, pilgrims from Iran, and other many Indians stuck abroad brought back to India. But why the government failed to send the migrants to their hometowns. Was starting an internal operation and sending the labors to their homes difficult? If the government could have started operation with the help of the state government, railways, and India Army, the job would be easy. The internal immigration chaos would have never been stated in the country. But the state government and the Modi government showed a complete failure of their governance and lockdown plan. The accident of 16 migrant laborers was not a mere accident; it was a picture of failed lockdown.

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