I am sitting on my Delhi balcony, staring in complete disbelief at the front page headline of my morning paper.
It is June 10th today.
Lockdown, was announced on March 24th, with just 4 hours notice, in keeping with the Prime Minster’s usual taste for the dramatic.
Now I am no maths wizard, so I may well be wrong, but this is how the numbers stack up for me:
7 days in March + 30 in April + 31 in May + 10 thus far in June + 15 more = 93 days.
93 days, on a worst-case scenario, and these poor people are still waiting to be taken home?
In Delhi, we were actually locked down from March 22nd, but I’ll leave those extra days out of the count.
I remind you that on March 31st, a week after lockdown was imposed, the Solicitor General of India told the Supreme Court, and I quote:
“THERE IS NO PERSON WALKING ON THE ROADS IN AN ATTEMPT TO REACH HIS/HER HOMETOWNS/VILLAGES.“
And the Supreme Court agreed that the migrant exodus was “PANIC CREATED BY FAKE NEWS.”
Fast forward to this morning’s headline.
This is beyond a humanitarian crisis, though I’m not sure what the word for that situation is.
A crime against humanity, perhaps? Is that the term I’m looking for?
Abandoning millions of people, denying they are even visible, and parroting that lazy, Trump-esque, catch-all term “fake news”.
And as the migrants still wait to get back to their homes, the very economy they have fled, the employers who haven’t paid them, the jobs they lost – all of that is slowly re-opening.
Now there is a labour shortage.
And, sadly but perhaps inevitably, infections are rising in the states to which migrants have already returned.
This is a terrible, frightening mess, much of which could have been alleviated if there had been a proper, measured approach to lockdown. A humanitarian approach, which treated India’s poor with compassion.
The 4 hour histrionics have cost us all dearly.