Bishop of Bareilly condemned Uttar Pradesh authorities for their "inhuman" attitude toward poor laborers

Published 01 April 2020  |  
Twitter: TOI Bareilly
Screenshot of video uploaded on Twitter

After the announcement of 21-day nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the country saw a mass exodus of poor laborers going back to their villages in the absence of jobs and no place to stay in big cities.

In one such episode, a video filmed and uploaded by a Times of India reporter on Twitter showed the extreme measures the health authorities of Uttar Pradesh took to disinfect the poor migrants on streets.

People were outraged to see health authorities sprinkling disinfectant on a group of migrants sitting at the entrance of the city together with their children.

The bishop of Bareilly condemned the attitude of the authorities. "This is inhuman," Mgr Ignatius D'Souza told Asia News. He protested that these are poor, marginalized and desperate migrant laborers and their families. "Their dignity cannot be violated in this inhuman and shocking manner."

A "chemical solution" that was sprinkled on the migrants was later confirmed to be chlorine mixed with water and that the officials had asked the laborers to close their eyes and mouth.

The district magistrate later investigated the matter and clarified that the city police and firefighters were asked to disinfect the arriving buses, "but in their enthusiasm they also sprinkled the disinfectant on the workers."

Archbishop D'Souza complained that "Each person has to be treated with Human Dignity, the celebrities who tested positive in India (who travelled to Lucknow), received best treatment, our poor people do not deserve this indignity, it's an affront against the dignity of the human person."

He highlighted that the Catholic Church of Bareilly has been distributing food packets to displaced people in buses, trains and crossroads stations while following the safety precautions issued by the government.


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