Skip to main content

Migrants, marginalised 'inhumanly' treated by administration, security forces: Saheli

Counterview Desk
Well-known women's group Saheli has sharply criticized the Government of India for showing “utter insensitivity and callousness” towards the poor and the most vulnerable sections in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. 
Calling the state’s treatment of the poor is “cruel, heartless and inhuman”, and referring to prime minister Narendra Modi's statement expressing sorrow to the poor people caused to them, it said, “Apologies about the distress caused by the lockdown mean nothing without acknowledging (and correcting) the transgressions of the state against the people who are worst hit by this crisis.” 

Text:

Our heads must hang in collective shame at pictures of poor, migrant and marginalised people – women and men, young and old, children and people with disabilities, people from underprivileged communities – being inhumanly treated by state administrations, and the security forces.
The anti-poor, anti-Dalit, anti-Muslim, regional and ethnic biases propagated by the powers-that-be are in blatant display during this, the greatest humanitarian crisis that we and most other countries have ever faced.
Since the last few days, extremely poor daily wagers have been leaving many major cities to try and reach their villages and home towns to escape the joblessness (and pennilessness) they are facing under the lockdown, the lack of any economic and social security, and total uncertainty about returning to work.
Without money and resources, they have taken to the roads, with nothing to eat and no drinking water, leave aside water and soap to wash their hands! 
Yet they have been further traumatised by security forces beating them, making them sit with heads in between their legs as ‘punishment’ for breaking curfew, and most horrifying of all, being sprayed with pesticide chemicals to ‘disinfect’ them – with no concern for their health, safety or dignity!
Was this done to those who were brought back by planes from other countries, who could actually have been the first carriers of deadly coronavirus?
Apologies about the distress caused by the lockdown mean nothing without acknowledging transgressions of the state against the people
The prime minister, chief ministers and many other government officials are issuing statements to create awareness about the virus, but unfortunately, their repeated messages on social media talk about ‘giving a free hand to law enforcement’.
On the ground this has meant a ‘free hand’ for security personnel to stop the poor from stepping out to buy vegetables, beating citizens in minority dominated areas at ration shops, ostracising and harassing those already at the margins of our society – Dalit, Muslim, Trans persons, sex workers, persons with disabilities etc. who have, for the last several years, led amazing struggles for their rights as full citizens.
Today we reaffirm and invoke these very constitutional rights and assert that every person in India be treated with equality and dignity.
We urge the authorities to put an immediate stop to the ruthless and inhuman display of power by the state agencies, and issue orders to this effect.
The government at both the Centre and at state levels, needs to prove that they are the government of all, not just the privileged few.
After all, every society is judged by how it treats it’s poorest, weakest and most vulnerable.

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

WHO move can 'enable' India to detain citizens, restrict freedom, control media

Counterview Desk  In an an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to concerned Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and MPs,  health rights network  People’s Alliance for Public Health (PAPH alias JanSwasthya Morcha), has urged that India should not be a signatory to the World Health Organization ( WHO) Pandemic Agreement and Amendments to the  International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005  to be adopted at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva from 27th May to 1st June, 2024.

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

Can scientists believe in God, yet explore nature 'abandoning' belief?

By Dr TV Sajeev*  In August 2023, India celebrated the successful soft-landing of Chandrayan on the south pole of the moon. That mission too led to some questioning about whether scientists could believe in God. The culture of temple visits and poojas before the launch of rockets with or without payload had been a mocking point for a long while. 

Growing stream of pollution infecting homes, bodies in US, Vietnam

By Erica Cirino*  Louisiana’s “River Parishes,” located along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, shoulder some of the worst industry impacts in the United States. As a result, this region has acquired a grim reputation as “ Cancer Alley .” 

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.