Midage Impact: Stranded Assam Workers Given Accommodation By Assam Bhawan In Chennai

Upfront reporting from Midage team prompted swift action from Assam Bhawan authorities in Chennai

Guwahati: Yesterday Midage Media had reported the appalling conditions of the workers who are basically from Assam and are stranded at Chennai. A pregnant lady was forced to try attempting suicide whereas the Assam Bhawan, Chennai denied extending any help to them.

We talked with one of the stranded workers who had informed us about their hardships and about the incident of the pregnant lady.

One of the members of an NGO working exclusively with the workers travelling back home informed us about the way police authorities had been heckling them when asked for help.

Midage Media had exclusively covered the news and upon circulation, Assam Bhawan has agreed to accommodate 10 persons out of around 60 and arranged accommodation for others in a nearby Arts College. Assam Bhawan has been taking care of their food. They are safe and sound at Chennai.

Today a stranded worker quoted, “Here the facilities are very well. We are getting proper food and bathroom facilities here. We are safe and sound. The pregnant lady is safe with her family at Assam Bhawan Premises of Chennai”.

Our team takes pride in reporting this alternate story from the ground and be a part of a change in people’s lives.

Also Read: Pregnant Woman from Assam Attempts Suicide in Chennai Due To ‘Lack Of Toilets’

Pregnant Woman from Assam Attempts Suicide in Chennai Due To 'Lack Of Toilets'

By Prasun Goswami

Guwahati: A group of migrant workers, originally from Assam and working at restaurants of Vellore was forced to travel till Chennai to be shooed away from the Assam Bhawan, Chennai.

As per sources, the group consisted of elders and a pregnant woman who walked for more than 10 KMs and then avail transportation to be dumped at Chennai. At Chennai, they were denied entry into Assam Bhawan by the Police. They were forced to spend the last night under a flyover, chased by police authorities from there, the pregnant woman tried to jump down from the flyover owing to the humiliation she faced and they were finally detained by the police to be rescued by the local NGOs.

Ranjeet Povrel quoted Midage Media, “We are basically from Kusum Tola of Biswanath Chariali district of Assam. Most of us were working in the restaurants at Vellore. Our landlords were continuously demanding rent from us and coincidently then we came to know that a train is allotted for us to travel back home. We were also informed that we need to register at Assam Bhawan, Chennai.

Elated with this piece of information our cosmopolitan aged group of around 60 people vacated the rented property to walk till Chennai. We walked for around 10 KMs and then we could manage buses and trucks that dropped us at Chennai.

Upon reaching Chennai, the building of Assam Bhawan was a visual retreat to us. We tried to venture in. But the police persons said to us that the building is locked and so we will not be allowed in. Feeling helpless our group decided to spend the night under the adjacent flyover. We spent that night under the flyover. The very next morning we woke up to be brutally chased by the Police to leave the space under the flyover. All the aged adults and the pregnant woman were brutally chased away without any sense of mercy. The pregnant women tried to climb the flyover to jump down, but we rescued her somehow. She was denied her basic dignity of using a toilet. We men can pee or take a crap in open but not women. Frustrated with all these she tried committing suicide. Why all these brutalities with us?

We ran for our lives to be interrupted by Police again. They were saying we will be detained inside the Police Station. We followed......,

Few NGOs arranged our lodging. Right now I am in the queue for availing the facility, we are being thermally scanned but yes, we are maintaining proper social distancing. I am calling you later.”

His phone switched off after that.

We contacted Shreela, a volunteer with the COVID-19 Volunteers Fund. She quoted Mid Age Media, “The group had started walking but then they arranged some bus or something and spent all their savings to reach Chennai. They were informed that they need to come here to Chennai so that, they can process their papers to go back home in the allotted trains. Yesterday they spent the entire night under a flyover and today morning they contacted us. We tried to arrange shelter for them, but on their way to the shelter, they were again stopped by the Police. They were detained at Police Station for 4-5 hours. Then they were asked by the police to go back to Vellore. They had no means to go back to Vellore. The Police persons at the Police Station made very negative remarks about them like Migrant workers are taking over Tamil Nadu and they are the ones spreading Corona in the state. Then they came up with a bizarre order that they will be detained further. Pissed off with these remarks we called the ACP Madipakam, Savarinathan. The ACP made a cold and heartless remark, “We can’t accommodate all in Chennai. Who had asked them to come over here at Chennai? Did I ask them to come to Chennai?”

Anyways the conclusion is the Police did not help them at all, in fact, the Police made things worse for them. We had managed a shelter for them but it is the Police who did not let them go over there. The shelter was at a walkable distance, but still, the Police did not allow them”.

After silencing the funds in the name of PM Cares, a new fund is allocated worth 20 Lakh Crores. We are waiting when this fund will serve the pregnant woman who tried to kill herself because of the humiliation of not having a proper toilet during this lockdown?

A country that has readily accepted New Economic Policy, 1991, after almost 30 years an IPS (So-called Educated) ‘man’ asks who had asked the workers from Assam to travel to Tamil Nadu in search of work? We need to ponder seriously where we have headed to.

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