The decision to cancel trains for migrants to return to their home towns has drawn much ire from the political Opposition, activists, and labour organisations.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah termed the decision by Chief Minister B.S Yediyurappa “not just inhuman but also violation of fundamental rights”. “The argument of Mr. Yediyurappa Minister that construction will not happen if migrants return exposes his mindset. He is willing to sacrifice the lives of hapless labourers for the sake of invisible hands. The decision to go back or to stay should be with the labourers and not the government. Are we still practising bonded labour?” he asked in a series of tweets on Wednesday.
A coalition of over 500 organisations, workers unions and activists have written an open letter to Mr. Yediyurappa, demanding that the order to cancel trains be immediately rescinded. They also questioned the motive claiming that it was made hours after the Chief Minister’s meeting with leading builders of the city. “This move of cancellation of trains violates the right to movement under Article 19(1)(d). By infringing on the basic freedom to make fundamental choices about their lives, it violates the right to dignity under Article 21. By cancelling trains and ensuring workers continue to labour in Karnataka, it violates the constitutional prohibition on forced labour under Article 23,” the letter said.
Meanwhile, a tweet by BJP MP from Bengaluru South Tejasvi Surya drew much ire on social media. “Stoppage of interstate trains by B.S. Yediyurappa is a bold and necessary move. It will help migrant labourers who came here with hopes of a better life to restart their dreams. It will also kickstart economic activities full throttle. Karnataka will emerge out of this stronger.”