Outrageous, appalling, offensive are a few words that come to mind after taking a look at all kinds of atrocities being forced upon migrant workers in several parts of the country. Besides struggling for even basic needs of survival due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the community of laborers is also somehow bearing with unfathomable levels of humiliation.

Provocative scenes came to light from Delhi on Friday, May 22, where a group of migrant workers was hosed down with disinfectant in the middle of the road. The incident took place in the Lajpat Nagar area of the south-eastern part of the national capital.

Disinfectant sprayed on migrants in Delhi
Disinfectant sprayed on migrants in DelhiTwitter

Putting humanity to shame

A clip of the episode, that has been invoking extreme responses on social media, shows that the migrants had lined up at a bus stop in Lajpat Nagar, waiting to board a bus that would take them back to their home state.

At the same time, the sanitization of roads was being carried out by the authorities. Upon seeing a queue of laborers, the operator then sprayed the disinfectant over them, an act that is unjustifiable by all means. Not only it robs the poor of their dignity but also raises serious health issues.

Here is the footage of the said incident:

Civic body's reponse

In response to the incident, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) said it happened by mistake as the worker could not handle the pressure of the jetting machine.

"Since the school is in a residential colony, there was huge demand from residents for disinfecting the compound and the road. But due to the pressure of the jetting machine, the worker could not manage it for some moments. The staff has already been instructed to be more careful and attentive while doing the job in future. The official present at the site apologised to public," SDMC said in a statement.

Lesson not learned

It is not for the first time that migrant workers were subjected to such sort of treatment. In a separate incident, when a group of laborers reached their native place in Uttar Pradesh from Delhi after a long struggle, they were made to sit in the middle of the street and then showered with disinfectants.

Disinfectant sprayed on UP labourers
Disinfectant sprayed on UP labourers

When the concerned authorities faced massive criticism for the act, one of the officials defended it saying they did so as it was convenient. "We did not mean to be inhuman. It was important to sanitize everyone and there was a rush. So we did what we thought was best," the official said. However, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made sure that actions were taken against those involved.

A similar instance was reported from Kerala as well which sparked a heated debate on different social media platforms. The migrants are probably the most vulnerable at the moment and the least we could do for them is to treat them as humans.