600 migrant workers in despair after finding their huts torched on returning to Bengaluru
Bala Chauhan, Express News Service
25 May 2020 Last Updated: 26 May 2020 10:13 PM
Children of these workers, some of whom are appearing for the SSLC exam, tried to salvage their books from the rubble but nothing remains barring their hall tickets, which they had taken with them
BENGALURU: Their huts and humble belongings have been reduced to ashes near the Sunday Bazar in Kachakaranahalli in Lingarajapuram in Bengaluru East. For these 600-odd migrant workers from Kalaburagi, life has dealt a shocking blow which they are struggling to come to terms with.
Children of these migrant workers, some of whom are appearing for the SSLC examination, tried to salvage their books from the rubble but nothing remains barring their hall tickets, which they had taken with them when they had left for their villages with their parents.
“Around 600 migrants from Kalaburagi have been living in the slum near the temple complex in Kacharakanahalli for the past 20 years. Before the lockdown, the residents had gone back to their villages to attend a local festival. With the easing of the lockdown, when they returned, they found their places were gutted completely. With no source of livelihood and roof on their heads, they are in total despair. Around 50 school children have lost their books. There are three SSLC students, who have their exams coming up. Their future looks highly uncertain,” said the Chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR), Antony Sebastian, who visited the site and spoke to the migrant workers.
Around 130 huts were gutted in a fire on April 27, said a social worker, who had gone to distribute free ration. “Some people came and lit fire to the empty huts last month. When we tried to stop them, they told us that they have been asked to do so,” he added.
“We immediately called the workers who had gone to their villages. But they could not come because of the lockdown,” said another eyewitness. “Soon after the lockdown was eased, some of them rushed back to Bengaluru,” he added. “We are left with nothing. This is an unjust world,” cried one of the victims.
Dr Sebastian, meanwhile, has contacted the Block Education Officer (BEO) and District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) about the students and requested study material for the forthcoming board examination. “I spoke to the children and have promised them that their education will be unhindered,” said the KSCPCR Chairman.