Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is abroad for his mother Sonia Gandhi’s health check-up, has questioned the government response to a query on number of migrant deaths during the Covid-induced lockdown, saying “the sad part is that the government does not care about the loss of lives.”
In a Hindi tweet, the Congress leader said: “The Modi government does not know how many migrants died during lockdown.. how many lost jobs. If you didn’t count.. did nobody die? The sad part is that the government does not care about the loss of lives. The world saw them dying… Modi government was unaware.”
Union Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar told Lok Sabha on Monday that the Centre had no data about the death of migrants during the lockdown that began in March. The 18-day monsoon session of Parliament began amid pandemic, over five months after the last session.
The government had declared a strict lockdown in March to check the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of migrant workers were rendered jobless with many of them having died while trying to return to their native places covering hundreds of kilometers. Many of them were seen walking as transport services remained suspended.
Rahul has repeatedly attacked the Centre over the migrants’ woes, saying the government mishandled the outbreak. In May, when he met some migrants camping at a flyover in Delhi, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called it “draamabazi”. “Instead of wasting the time of migrants and sitting with them, walk along with them and carry their suitcase,” she had said.
In the parliament session, the Union labour ministry was asked if the government had any data on migrant workers. “There is no data on migrant deaths so the question does not arise of compensation”, the Labour Ministry said, sparking criticism from the Opposition.
Sonia and Rahul Gandhi will not be able to attend the first part of the Parliament session.