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'They're Not Animals': Bareilly Officials Face Outrage for Forcefully 'Disinfecting' Migrant Workers

Bareilly administration faced flak for spraying  incoming migrant workers with sanitiser solution | Image credit: Twitter

Bareilly administration faced flak for spraying incoming migrant workers with sanitiser solution | Image credit: Twitter

Many on social media expressed their disgust against the act as the public bathing was in complete violation of the consent and rights of the workers.

In a shocking incident, Bareilly administration sprayed sanitiser and disinfect on migrants workers, before allowing them to enter the district.

The incident came to light after videos of the same went viral on social media. In the videos, Bareilly administration officials can be seen clothed in protective gear spraying a chemical sanitizer solution on the migrant families including women and children. On social media, it caused widespread outrage.

The migrants are seen clutching on to their luggage and sitting quietly on the road as they are forcefully showered.

Ashok Gautam, the nodal officer in charge of Bareilly’s coronavirus response operations, confirmed to The Hindu that the migrants were indeed sprayed with a mixture of sanitiser mixed with water and chlorine and sprayed the incoming workers to eradicate all signs of the virus from their person. He further justified that getting them wet was not a problem as long as the disease was contained.

Many on social media expressed their disgust against the act as the public bathing was in complete violation of the consent and rights of the workers.

“Who are you trying to kill, Corona or humans?" a journalist wrote on Twitter while sharing the video. Another user called the act “dehumanising".

Some even pointed out the hypocrisy of the Indian state which would send special aircrafts to rescue Indians stuck overseas and even provided special testing and treatment facilities at airports to incoming citizens whereas underprivileged citizens were “sprayed like cattle".

Following outrage against the public bathing, Bareilly District Magistrate Nitish Kumar has ordered an investigation into the officers who ordered the spraying.

In the wake of rising cases of coronavirus in India, many have blamed preferential treatment meted out to influential people, many of whom tried to evade testing after returning from foreign trips and were later tested positive for coronavirus. Bollywood singer Kanika Kapoor was tested positive for coronavirus for the first time on March 20 after returning from the United Kingdom and refused to follow the necessary precautions. A Bengal bureaucrat’s son also tested positive for COVID-19 after he returned from England and flouted quarantine norms.

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