Lockdown diaries: The arduous journey of a bereaved son from Delhi to Bihar

Topics Coronavirus | Delhi | Bihar

Migrants run to board a bus to their native village, during a nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, at Ghazipur Delhi - UP border, Ghaziabad. Photo: PTI
Long after the governments of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh were done ferrying Bihari migrants to their homes by busloads, a young daily wage labourer found himself at the Anand Vihar bus terminus in the national capital, grieving for his mother.

Mukesh Yadav alias Dipu (26), who hails from Bhagalpur district, had been crestfallen ever since receiving a call from his father on Monday evening that his mother was killed in a freak accident that left her head severed from her body.

Working as a daily wage earner since he was only 14, Dipu was out of work but had planned to stay back at his shanty in Sarai Kale Khan until receiving the terrible news.

We had been visiting the Anand Vihar bus terminus with food for the hapless migrants ever since the mass exodus began. On Monday evening, the number of people was far less and it appeared that the business of sending off migrants was over. Suddenly we spotted this young man, weeping inconsolably," says Yogita Bhayana, Delhi-based social worker.

Bhayana, who has been better known for her activism against sexual crimes in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya gang rape incident, swung into action but met initial disappointment.

"I rang up many legislators and bureaucrats in Delhi for help. They all told me the restrictions on movement of people from one place to another have tightened and it was impossible to help Dipu reach his village and attend his mothers funeral.

"I tweeted furiously, tagging the chief ministers of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, hoping for help to come from whichever corner possible. I was told that my tweets had gone viral, Bihar politicians like Tejashwi Yadav, Pappu Yadav and Chirag Paswan sharing these on their official handles. However, concrete help eluded us, she told PTI over phone.

Bhayana said, it was late in the evening when she got a call from the Resident Commissioner of Bihar Vipin Gupta, who said he had been tipped off about her tweets by the office of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

"Gupta asked me to come right away which I did. He was forthcoming help and wasted no time in giving a signed and stamped letter authorising travel to Bihar. There was a small obstacle, though, as he said he was not in a position to arrange a vehicle.

"My younger brother Hemant, a passionate animal lover, then demonstrated that he cared no less for humans," she remarked fondly.

Hemant took Dipu in his car and took off for a gruelling, more than 1,000 kilometers long drive, around midnight on Tuesday.

"Another associate of ours, Rohit, joined him to take turns at the steering wheel.

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