Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh): In a shocking incident, migrants who were returning to their homes in Uttar Pradesh were sprayed with chemicals on Sunday by a team on sanitising duty at the Bareilly bus stand.
According to reports, the migrants who had walked down from Noida and Delhi, were told to sit at the bus stand by officials who said that they would be taken on buses and would be given food.
Mohd Afzal, one in the group, said, "About 50 of us were seating and waiting for food and the bus at the satellite bus adda when some men in protective suits came and began spraying water on us. They said that they were form the sanitization team and were sanitizing us. The children began crying and women were also shocked."
According to sources, the sanitizing team sprayed the group with a diluted mixture of sodium hypochlorite.
Sodium Hypochlorite is the main ingredient in laundry bleach. It is used extensively as a bleaching agent in the textile, detergents, and paper and pulp industries. It is also used as a disinfectant.
Mohd Afzal said that after they were sprayed with water, the children complained of itching in their eyes while some women developed rashes.
"The chemical had a strange smell and after this incident, most of us left Bareilly and decided to continue our journey on foot," he said. Mohd Afzal works as a courier boy in a company in Noida and has returned to his home in Shahjahanpur.
Bareilly DM says workers will be given treatment
Nitish Kumar, district magistrate of Bareilly has now directed the chief medical officer in the district to provide treatment to those who were sprayed with sodium hypochlorite, on Sunday in a bid to sanitize them.
The district magistrate, in a tweet, admitted that the Nagar Nigam and fire brigade personnel became over-zealous in their sanitization drive and sprayed the chemical on the people.
He said action would be taken against the guilty persons.
Priyanka Gandhi flays
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted asking the Yogi government not to spray chemicals on migrant workers who are already facing hardships.
In a tweet, she said that the entire nation stands united to fight the situation, but such actions on migrant workers is not acceptable.
"This move will not protect them, but expose them to larger health hazards," shes said.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, in a tweet, demanded to know if the spraying of chemicals was in accordance with the WHO guidelines. He asked about the treatment of the side effects of the chemicals.
"Who is in-charge and how did the UP govt allow this to happen!?" asked senior Congress leader Jitin Prasada.
Prasada, a former Union Minister, said, "the mistreatment of these already persecuted migrants at the hands of govt officials is despicable".
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