Finally, the Parliament is sitting. In a terrible pandemic time, the sitting of our lawmakers needs to be applauded. Of course there are certain restlessness among the lawmakers questioning the minimal functioning of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Somehow, we the citizens of largest democracy of the world are happy that our law makers are courageous enough to face the COVID-19 virus to save our parliamentary democracy.
Against the backdrop of this terrible pandemic we have a series of crisis to resolve and we need several national debates on various issues; starting from the historical contraction of GDP to border tension between our new found enemy China.
In a limited sphere it will not be business as usual in the Parliament, but what more unusual is, the extraordinary callousness of a government which hardly bothers to talk about the miseries of common folks during national lock down from 24th March to last week of June.
Even now, we are going through a slow process of unlocking. Public transport throughout the country is not fully back to pre March motion and many important sectors of our socio-economic life are still under lockdown.
As they say, it’s extraordinarily trying time and we do sacrifice our constitutionally guaranteed liberty and rights to be a part against the war against COVID-19.
Government wants us to follow their entire guidelines or else to be punished with severe fines/jail. We do follow the rule of law, but how does the government show their commitment to “we the people” during this terrible crisis?
In this Parliament session few lawmakers wanted to know from the government –
1. Whether the government has the data of migrant workers who returned to their own states from various states during the national lock down?
2. Whether the government is aware that a number of migrant workers lost their lives during their return to the hometown?
3. Whether the government has provided any compensation/economic assistance to the victim’s family?
So, what was the answer of the government to these vital humane questions? The answer from the government was a phenomenally stony phrase – “NO SUCH DATA IS MANTAINED”, hence question does not arise to provide any compensation/economic assistance to the victim’s family.
India had seen the most tragic flow of distressed migrant laborers on road for weeks and hundreds of them were found dead due to hunger, disease and accidents. Millions of migrants walked hundreds of miles to go back to their own home as they lost their livelihood due to unplanned national lock down.
The government created an alarming proportion of panic among the poorest section of our people and in fact, this exodus was literally a government sponsored tragedy.
Today, in the very temple of our democracy the government said that, they maintained no data on this severest human tragedy. Can we expect a government committed to Right to life (Article 21) and idea of welfare state to speak in a language which is astonishingly insensitive and inhuman?
The world has seen the exodus and after hundreds of reports in media the Supreme Court of India had also taken notice of it. How a responsible government simply washed its hand by saying – “the mass movement of migrants after the country went into lockdown in March to fight the Corona virus was because of “fake news”.
What was really fake, the exodus of the migrants or the government attitude which is trying to erase the inhuman truth by saying “NO SUCH DATA IS MANTAINED”??
The writer is a poet, author and art critic.