From our readers: Letter on migrant workers

Dear Editor

I read both your articles on the issue of stranded migrant workers and the SoP that has been issued by the Government of India. The analysis presented in the first article “Indian capitalists do not want daily-wage workers to go back to their homes!” is reinforced by the SoP issued by the government on 19th April. In the first place, the capitalists did not want the workers to be allowed to return home for fear of losing the required labour when the lockdown is lifted. And now it is becoming very clear with the issue of the SoP that the government of India, which works in the interests of the capitalists at all times, is making sure through every possible means that the workers are available where they are needed by businesses resuming their operations.

It was clearly a blatant lie that governments were taking measures to stop the migrant workers from returning home out of concern for their well-being or that of their village communities at their home. The conditions of the stranded workers and how much they are being taken care of is clear for all to see.

Right from the start of the COVID-19, the central and state governments have talked ad nauseam about how they are taking care of the people and the Prime Minister declared that the virus knows no barriers of religion, race, colour, caste or creed in striking any person. However, actual conditions on the ground belie these words. No one can deny that workers who have been stranded far from their homes due to the lockdown have been left high and dry by the authorities to beg and starve. They have been completely stripped of all human dignity.

I fully agree with your conclusion that workers cannot be treated as bonded labour in the capitalist system. They cannot be forced to work only in this or that worksite and should be free to return home if they so wish to.

Lakshmi, Chennai

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