A video of a man scrambling on a road in Agra to collect spilled milk alongside a pack of stray dogs, has raised questions about the devastating impact of the countrywide lockdown to flatten the coronavirus curve on the poor, and economically weaker sections of the society.
The video footage was shot on Monday at the Ram Bagh Chauraha in Agra, where a large milk container had reportedly overturned sending streams of milk pouring down the road, NDTV reported. The man scuttles to the road and is seen squatted next to the dogs, as he tries to scoop in the milk into a small earthen pot. The video has been widely circulated on social media.
The station house officer of the Itimad-ud-Daula police station in Agra confirmed the incident but claimed the man is believed to be mentally unstable, the Hindustan Times reported. He is fond of feeding the dogs and was collecting it to feed the strays, Uday Veer Malik told the newspaper.
“The man [who is in his 50s] lives under the the Rambagh flyover and sometimes moves to temple nearby,” Malik said, “The man was not collecting milk for himself but for feeding the dogs after a milkman slipped and the milk was spread on road.”
The police official said the man lived alone and has no family.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on March 24 declared that a 21-day nationwide lockdown would begin from the following day, to combat the spread of the coronavirus. With businesses upended and establishments shut down, vast numbers of daily wage labourers, many of whom lived where they worked, were suddenly left without any means of sustenance and shelter in large cities.
Tens of thousands of migrant labourers, including whole families, marched along interstate highways to their homes attempting to cross state borders, amid the 21-day lockdown. Many of them have died. However, fearing mass transmission of Covid-19, the Centre ordered states to seal the borders.
Over the past few days, there have been reports of restlessness, protests and violence by migrants dissatisfied with their living conditions in shelter camps, or wanting to return home.
On Tuesday, Modi announced that the lockdown will be extended till May 3.