India is in the middle of a migrant crisis. Since the lockdown, a large number of people started to move to their homes. Many of these were daily wage workers and the lockdown hit them hard. The government had no plan and its evident now. Even the Shramik Express which were specially sanctioned to get these people to their destinations failed them. Reports of overcrowded stations and delayed trains were floating everywhere. As you read and I write, people are still walking on roads. The government tried, but soon the issue was politicized.
As migrants reach their homeland, by walking on roads facing the scorching sun, by travelling through delayed Sharmik Express or just by being sent by Sonu Sood, they meet newly deployed Corona Warriors at the quarantine centres.
These Corona warriors are government officials, who before COVID, use to be Anganbadi, School Teachers, or were stationed at government offices maintaining law and order.
All duty-bound Corona Warriors report at their posts without questioning law and policymakers and also come at very short notice. But, the officials stationed at these quarantine centres are not equipped with PPE kits or information. Medical staff are our front liners, and so are these officials, maintaining order among these migrants in panic, fulfilling demands from both the ends without caring about themselves.
Reports have been floating around about the failures of quarantine centres all over India, but Bihar has been hit hard. Being the poster state of failures, Bihar is being taunted left, right and centre. Videos are being shot and made viral. Journalists shove mics in the mouth of officials. Officials, on the other hand, are trying best to provide with the limited resources available at their disposal.
In the past few years, Indian media has started behaving like a curious toddler. Well, being curious is the media’s job with logic and reasoning. Who to question and what kind of questions to ask are the basic parameters which need to be followed but, under the current circumstances of the press in India, it seems almost impossible to ask questions to the right person, or person in power, least of all, the person who holds the answers.
In that case, the media asks questions to those they can reach easily. In this case, hard-working officials are trying their best, putting their life on the line. This is nothing but, sheer stupidity.
But, the question is, are we asking the right questions?
Bihar still has the lowest testing rates, there is a shortage of PPE kits. The health care system is in a dump, and instead of asking questions and also helping the government to get things in order, we are joking and fooling around about the Launda Nach at the quarantine centres.
These corona warriors, who you will forget as the crisis is over, and who will be called unsung heroes in history books, they have a family too. Stakes are higher for them, more than yours. Help them, support them, and do your bit. Make sure that if journalists are not asking the right questions to the right people, you ask them.
COVID will end, it has to. Humanity must continue.
A time will come when smiles will not be covered under masks, but until then, wear your masks, sanitize your hands, stay home and stay safe.