Around 600 workers, who returned to Bengaluru after the lockdown was relaxed, found their huts and belongings in ashes near the Sunday Bazar in Kachakaranahalli in Lingarajapuram in Bengaluru East, the New Indian Express reported.
According to the report, their huts in the slum area had been set ablaze after they had gone back to their native place in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi before the lockdown was imposed and got stuck there.
Chairperson of Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR), Antony Sebastian visited the site and met the migrants who were in shock upon returning to Bengaluru.
After the meeting, he said, “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,” he added.
As per a social worker quoted in the report, some 130 huts were burnt on 27 April.
“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 said while adding that he found out about this when he went to distribute relief items.
Another eye witness said they called some of the workers, but they could not come back immediately due to the lockdown. “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,” said one of the victims quoted in the report.
Meanwhile, Dr Sebastian spoke to the Block Education Officer (BEO) and District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) regarding the students’ loss and requested them to provide some study material for the forthcoming board exams.
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