Migrant workers belonging from Bihar are trying to return home amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown put in place by the Union government to combat the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) but they are being barred from entering their villages.
Villagers engulfed with fears that migrant workers have brought the virus infection with them, some villages have blocked entry points in the villages, hung posters and deployed men to patrol these entry points in shifts.
Villagers have even insisted on migrant workers to undergo tests to confirm they do not carry the coronavirus and remain in quarantine for at least 14 days before entering villages.
This has led to a violent clash between villagers and migrant workers.
To know the intensity of the situation, a resident from Madhaul village in Sitamarhi district on March 29, 2020, had alleged two migrant workers returned to the village from Mumbai without taking any tests. The alleged migrant workers than committed murder of the person.
Police arrested two people in connection with the murder, adding that they were investigating the case.
Angry villagers in Jehanabad district assaulted a team of officials who had gone to a village to detain migrant workers and put them in a quarantine centre.
Migrant workers were forced to undergo a 14-day quarantine in schools and government buildings located outside the village before reaching their homes. Around 50 villages across the state have banned their entry, according to local media reports.
Around 19.34 per cent of Bihar’s migrants are settled in Delhi, with 10.65 per cent in Maharashtra, 10.24 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, 7.06 per cent in Haryana, 6.89 per cent in Punjab and 4.79 per cent in Gujarat, according to the study.
A number of cases of coronavirus have been reported from the state, indicating that without mechanisms to test for the disease in migrant workers, the number of cases could rise in Bihar as well.
Migrant workers across the country — fearing a loss of their livelihood and long-term employment because of the lockdown — are returning to their villages and home towns.