Braving the scorching heat, migrant workers from Jammu walked thousands of kilometres to return to their native places in Uttar Pradesh, accusing the government of ignoring their predicament.
With all their possessions slung over their shoulders, 150 migrant workers began their homeward journey on foot on Thursday, after being stranded in Jammu for several days due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
"No one bothers about us. We started the journey on foot from Jammu and trekked several kilometers but nobody stopped us anywhere to ask us where we were going?" Surinder, a resident of Gorakhpur in UP, said.
"We have no water and food. No vehicle or bus has stopped for us. We have been left to the mercy of God," he said.
Accusing the government of ignoring their grievances, the migrant workers, who hail from Uttar Pradesh, said if Kashmiri students and labourers can be brought back in buses and trains from UP, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, why can't they be sent to their native places in the same buses or trains?
"Kashmiri students and workers were brought back with best possible facilities but we were being ignored by the government, Tahirdin, a native of Meerut, said.
PTI spotted many of these workers in Kathua searching for buses to take them to their respective homes in Gorakhpur, Meerut and Lucknow.
"During the past two months, I tried to leave Jammu five times to go to my home district but police brought me back. We have run out of money and there are no jobs available right now, Gulshan Kumar, a resident of Gorakhpur, said.