Civic Body Sprays Disinfectant on Migrants: ‘Criminal’ Says AAP

Reports of disinfectant being sprayed on migrant workers who have been struggling to reach their home amid the lockdown, have surfaced yet again.

In National Capital's Lajpat Nagar, on Friday, 22 May, when a large number of labourers were waiting to get medical screening done for coronavirus before boarding Shramik trains for their respective states, a SDMC (South Delhi Municipal Corporation) worker sprayed disinfectant on them, reported Indian Express.

According to the report, four SDMC workers and a tanker with the initials of SDMC were seen at Lajpat Nagar's Hemu Kalani Secondary School. SDMC later said that the official at the spot "apologised" to the migrants.

Delhi's ruling party AAP has called the incident a "criminal act".

Shockingly, in a statement, SDMC also said it was a “mistake” as the worker couldn’t handle the pressure of the machine and sprayed in the wrong direction.

“Since the school is in a residential colony, there was huge demand from residents for disinfecting the compound and the road. But due to the pressure of the jetting machine, the worker could not manage it for some moments,” reads SDMC statement, PTI reported.

"The staff has already been instructed to be more careful and attentive while doing the job in future. The official present at the site apologised to public," it further adds.

According to the Indian Express report, one worker "asked" the migrant workers to turn around and sprayed. The crowd of migrants desperately waiting to go home also included women and kids. Some of them were seen coughing while the disinfectant was hosed down.

There have been similar incidents in the past in different parts of the country.

The Quint earlier spoke to Dr Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals and he told us sodium hypochlorite 'is not meant for sanitising people at mass level'. He also warned about the harmful effects when exposed to this chemical.

AAP Calls it 'Criminal Act'

Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), on Saturday, termed it a "criminal act".

In a tweet, the AAP said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been consistently misbehaving with the poor workers during this Covid-19 crisis.

"The BJP-ruled MCD's behaviour with workers is bound to raise questions that the BJP doesn't consider the poor workers as human beings," the AAP said.

Terming it a criminal act by the MCD, AAP national spokesperson Raghav Chadha said, "Spraying of disinfectant on people can lead to irritation of eyes, skin and potentially gastrointestinal effects, like nausea and vomiting. Inhalation of sodium hypochlorite can lead to irritation of membranes of nose, throat, respiratory tract and cause bronchospasm," he said.

(With inputs from The Indian Express, IANS & PTI.)

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