A video that went viral showed heartbreaking visuals of Arbina Khatoon’s toddler playing with the blanket that she lay dead under.

A child plays with the blanket of his dead mother at Muzzafarpur railway station
Coronavirus Migrant workers Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 12:25

A video of a deceased woman – a migrant worker now identified as Arbina Khatoon – went viral on social media on Wednesday. The heart wrenching video showed Arbina’s body lying on Muzzafarpur railway station in Bihar, while her toddler played with the blanket that covered her. There was another child in the frame, an older one, as well.

On Wednesday evening, Bihar’s former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav announced financial assistance for the children on Twitter. He said, “The deceased Arbina Khatoon’s husband had left her two years ago. Now, we are providing financial assistance worth Rs 5 lakh to both her children so that there is an FD (fixed deposit) in their name till they become adults. We will give jobs in Katihar to the relatives [of the children] who take responsibility for the children’s education and care.”

This comes after many people had been asking on social media if the children had been identified and helped.

The video itself was shared widely as people pointed out the devastating look it provided into India’s migrant worker crisis – one of the fallouts of the COVID-19 lockdown. Lakhs of migrant workers found themselves stranded without work, income, accommodation and sustenance when India went into lockdown, first over two months ago which has since been extended four time, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Many workers were forced to begin walking to their home states – sometimes over thousands of kilometres – as all other transport remained shut. Earlier this month, special Shramik trains were started by the Indian government to ferry workers. However there have been complaints of bad management, lack of provisions of even basics such as food and water for workers through the journeys, and lax norms around physical distancing and other safety measures.

 

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