NEW DELHI: Accusing the BJP government in Karnataka of "medieval barbarism" and treating migrants as worse than "bonded laborers", CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday hit out at the state's decision to stop workers from returning to their homes in different parts of the country citing requirements of the construction sector.
The Karnataka government has withdrawn its request to the railways to run special trains to ferry migrant laborers to their home states, hours after builders met Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to apprise him of the problems the construction sector will face in case they left.
"This is worse than treating them as bonded labor. Does the Indian constitution exist? Are there any laws in the country? This BJP state government is throwing us back to medieval barbarism. This will be stoutly resisted," Yechury said in a tweet.
The railways are running Shramik Special trains to ferry to their home town migrants who were stranded at their places of work during the lockdown. So far, it has run more than 115 such trains.
The Principal Secretary in the Revenue Department N Manjunatha Prasad, who is the nodal officer for migrants, had requested the South Western Railways on Tuesday to run two train services a day for five days except Wednesday, while the state government wanted services thrice a day to Danapur in Bihar.
However, later, Prasad wrote another letter within a few hours that the special trains were not required.
Several migrants in the city were desperate to return home as they were out of jobs and money.
Yechury also lashed out at the central government over reports that it owed states and industry Rs 3 trillion and accused the centre of shifting the burden of fighting the pandemic to the state governments.
"While shifting the entire burden of fighting the pandemic on to the State governments, Modi government is not even paying their legitimate dues. After November 2019, Centre has not paid the GST compensation dues for the rest of the financial year, i.e., March 2020."
"Modi government has the right to loot while crores of people & States are left with nothing but the right to starve?" he tweeted.