Andhra migrant workers ride camels to set 1,200 km-long journey back home in Rajasthan
VIJAYAWADA: “I’d rather die in my home state than live here,” says 25-year-old Amar Kailash Shinde, as he and two of his relatives ride camels on their 1,200 km journey to Rajasthan amid the nationwide lockdown.
“We left Guntur at 4 am today (Tuesday), and hope to reach Bhilwara in 15-20 days.” Incidentally, 26 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Bhilwara, accounting for 30 per cent of the cases in Rajasthan.
“It’s a life-and-death situation across the country,” Shinde argues, adding that he hopes to cover about 80 km every day.
The first part of the journey, he says, will be the toughest. “We are only worried about crossing Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, I know several officials willing to help.” As for how they managed to cross the Krishna-Guntur border, he explains, “No one stopped us. We lied to a policeman, saying we were going to the market.
“To another, we told the truth, and to our surprise, he offered us food!” Shinde, his brother Manoj (24) and cousin Ranjeet (14) came to AP about eight years ago, and used their camels to make a living.
“The early months of a year are when exhibitions and melas are held, and we eke out a living by offering camel rides. But sadly, there’s no work here anymore and we have to return,” Shinde says.
Rajasthani family will not be allowed to travel further: CP
“Many people from my State who work in Hyderabad have already reached or are about to reach Rajasthan. My family has stayed back in Hyderabad, and we will pick them up on the way,” he explains.
But the trio may not be so lucky. Commenting on their journey, Vijayawada Commissioner of Police Ch Dwaraka Tirumala Rao on Tuesday said, “I will check with my men and ensure they are not allowed to travel further.”
As for how they managed to enter the city, he said it must have been through Durga Varadhi, as the Prakasam Barrage has been barricaded. As per the 2011 Census, nearly 10.5 lakh migrants live in Andhra Pradesh.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story and may not have modified or edited by Quickclarity news)
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