A weeping boy, unable to get a ride to Bihar, his home, was among scores of disappointed migrants at Delhi’s main interstate bus terminal where operations have stopped because of the coronavirus lockdown.
“I want to go home,” the boy said, tears streaming down his face. He carried a rucksack with his belongings, like he has for three days, hoping to catch a bus home.
“The cops keep chasing me away. Where do I go,” the tired and hungry teen said. He works at a construction site and, like thousands of daily-wage earners, has been left stranded after most of the country shut down to check the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19.
He has no home in Delhi and now, no way of earning a livelihood. But going back to the relative safety of his village is no longer an option.
His story has moved many on social media. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav tweeted urging Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to organize food and shelter for this boy and others like him.
Dear @NitishKumar ji, Kindly communicate with Delhi Govt or @HMOIndia to make immediate arrangement for this innocent guy.
Likewise, setup a centralized helpline for all those who are stranded outside Bihar& liaise with respective govts to make arrangements for their stay & food. https://t.co/FWxrIoEvns
— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) March 24, 2020
Many others keep coming to the Anand Vihar terminal, hoping for a bus to Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh or Bihar, whichever is home.
Among them are travelers who took trains to Delhi from Kerala, Goa and several other places soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a “Janata Curfew” or self-quarantine. They meant to finish the last leg of the journey on bus.
In Delhi, they arrived to no buses, no cabs and no food either as all eateries have vanished.
When they group together at the terminus while waiting for buses, the police come at them with sticks, pointing out that more than four people gathering at any spot is banned because of the virus panic.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a complete lockdown in Delhi on Sunday, shutting down everything but essential supplies.
India has more than 500 coronavirus cases and 10 people have died.