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Migrants kill resident for informing officials about their arrival in lockdowned India

Migrants board a bus in Patna to reach their native villages in Bihar on March 30 (Photo Credits: PTI). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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NEW DELHI, Mar 31, 2020, India Today. The novel coronavirus has arrived in Bihar not just as a pandemic, but a bearer of hatred and cruelty. An incident reported from Sitamarhi district of the state on Monday evening shows how the Covid-19 outbreak has also led to the spread of hatred in society.

A resident of Madhaul village in Runnisaidpur block, Bablu was killed allegedly because he informed health officials about the arrival of people from other states to the area. A vigilant Bablu alerted authorities in an effort to protect his village from the novel coronavirus but he did not know that it would cost him his life, India Today reported.

Initial inputs reveal that two migrant workers based in Maharashtra returned to their native home in Madhaul village earlier this week. As per the instructions issued by the state government for public consumption, Bablu decided to inform health officials about the arrival of the migrant workers.

This led to a team of health department officials knocking on the doors of the two migrant workers in order to collect their samples for Covid-19 testing. The arrival of medical experts angered the two migrants who after giving their samples to the officials, rushed to Bablu’s home along with five others. The group of seven then thrashed Bablu to death for informing health officials about their arrival from Maharashtra.

After word about the villager’s death reached the local police, all seven people involved in the assault were arrested. A case has been registered against them under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and further investigation into the matter is underway.

In the aftermath of this incident, who would have the courage to raise awareness about this pandemic? Tens of thousands of such migrant workers have managed to return to their native homes in Bihar from various Indian states. The Bihar government has set up isolation centres outside villages with help from local panchayats but migrant workers are refusing to leave their homes for these isolation centres citing the lack of basic facilities. In fact, the state government had also urged villagers to inform health officials about the arrival of any migrant workers from other states.

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