Thousands of distressed and hungry migrant workers, desperate to go home after they had lost their jobs in the city and receiving no help from the administration and government, came out on the streets on 11 May 2020 in Jaipur at Nahri ka Naka in the Shastri Nagar Thana area to express their anger.

Seeing the large numbers of migrant workers, the police and RAC used force against the women, children, and workers, causing a stampede which resulted in many getting injured.

As soon as the affected workers gave information about this incident on the Samarth Helpline, responsible people from all the three Left organizations associated with the Helpline arrived on the spot, including CPI leader Nisha Siddhu, CPM Jaipur District Secretary Sumitra Chopra, CPIML District Secretary Rahul Chaudhary, CITU leaders Harendra Singh and Vijay Singh, and other social activists and journalists reached the spot. They heard the problems of the workers and tried to help them by talking to the administration.



These workers are all migrant workers from Bihar and West Bengal and are stranded here due to the Lockdown. There are about 8,000 workers in this tiny colony. Many workers live in each room, the number of workers to a single room being anything between 5 to as many as 50. As for houses, the number of workers living in each house could be as many as 200, and the conditions are appalling. These workers have been given rations just once during this entire period by the administration; and even that has been possible only after efforts made by the local police Thana and repeated meetings by Left organizations with the Collector. It is over one month since they got rations. The rations consisted of a 5 kg kit per 5 persons, which was not sufficient even for two days. From then until now, food and rations were being provided through the efforts of Left organizations and some social organizations; but even this was not sufficient. Distressed, these workers tried hard to go home; they even paid a lot of money to local authorized computer vendors (e-mitra) in the name of registration for the booking of rail tickets, but no means of going home was arranged for them. Eventually the desperate come out on the streets, thousands of them together. This incident exposed the laxity and insensitive attitude of the state and local administration towards migrant workers. The administration instead of talking to them amicably ordered lathi-charge over them, resulting in a stampede and injuries to many workers.



These workers only wanted to be sent to their native places. They are mostly from Bihar and Bengal, and some from Uttar Pradesh. They have also called out for help to their Chief Ministers to get them home, but in view of the callousness of the administration it does not appear as if they will be given any help.

Despite repeated propaganda through messages and social media communications by the Rajasthan government, no work seems to be done on the ground. Lakhs of distressed and starving workers are getting nothing and becoming more desperate.

Oppression by Landlords, Police and Local Goons: Rehan, living in this basti, told us that the government is deliberately harassing them. They are hungry and desperate to go home even if the police and administration lathi charge them or throw them into jail, because the landlords have started oppressing since they are unable to pay the rent.



Local goons often trouble them and beat them up. The police personnel do often lathi charge them and abuse them. The landlords also turning them out of their homes. If a list is occasionally prepared for distribution of ration, the local people tamper with the lists to exclude many of the workers and include their own chosen people instead. If the workers complain about this, local goons beat them up. The local goons also played a big role in abusing and beating up the workers during the incident that occurred on 11 May.

The thousands of workers who came out on the streets were later assured by the administration that arrangements would be made in the next three days to transport them home, but this could be just one more ploy like previous assurances and promises made by the Rajasthan government.

The condition of workers across the country is going from bad to worse and the Central government is doing nothing for them. This has resulted in these workers losing trust and hope and they just want to get home somehow. The workers injured in the incident of 11 May say, “Shoot us if you want but send us home alive or dead; before we die of sickness, we will die of starvation and fear”.



No Rations by the Government: Sumitra Chopra, who reached the spot to help, said that the condition of migrant workers across the State is the same, and workers are desperate and dying everywhere. The police and administration are both turning a blind eye to this, therefore our demand is that arrangements for rations and food should be made immediately for them.

Nisha Siddhu said that from day one we have been arranging rations and food for this area without any cooperation from the administration. Distribution of 1000 ration kits for 10,000 people (a total of less than 7000 kg rations) by the administration was like adding insult to injury.

Rahul Chaudhary said that for many days we have been trying to arrange some transport for these workers to get home. But so far the administration has made no arrangement for them. Thousands of workers have been herded together in this small area in inhuman conditions. So many people living in such close proximity is an open invitation to the pandemic, but the administration remains heedless.



Police Mitra used in Lathi Charge: These leaders have demanded that the administration must make sure that these workers are not lathi charged on any account. Video footages of the 11 May incident show local ‘Police Mitra’s (citizen volunteers meant to help police in range of civilian activities) wielding lathis on the workers and ill-treating and abusing them. This is a flagrant violation of the country’s law and order system, said these activists and demanded that cognizance should be taken immediately.