A non-discriminatory virus (SARS-CoV-2) is inflicting more damage to the poor because of lockdown. Although the lockdown imposed by the administration is needed, as it curtails the transmission of this deadly virus. Indeed it is expected to flatten the curve. Nevertheless, the flip side of the lockdown has been the trauma and agony inflicted on the distressed class such as public transporters and street vendors. These people have a hand to mouth existence and have no savings to sustain this period of pandemic. This lockdown has caused hunger and starvation among these classes. The worst-hit class amid curfews, lockdowns and natural calamities remain the transport industry. Every day when I go outside, I notice public buses stranded and the people associated with this industry without any work. Their sullen, and frustrating faces describe their the mental trauma and agony they are going through. This is the most affected class which has been suffering from the past one year when the special status of Jammu & Kashmir was withdrawn. They bore the brunt, and are suffering in this lockdown more than anyone else. The administration is just looking the other way. Majority of them is under the burden of hefty bank loans and they are bound to pay their monthly installments. Amidst these circumstances, they are not able to fulfill the basic needs of their family, how come they will pay monthly installment to the bank. The magnitude of hardships they are facing is unimaginable. The other underprivileged classes are feeling the same. These circumstances have shaken the socio-economically disadvantaged people.
This is the time to come forward to alleviate the suffering of such people. The government here is just delivering lip service. So we should, at individual level, help the deserving. This is the time for NGOs and philanthropists to come forward and streamline the initiatives meant to help the destitute and impoverished.
Let us pledge to help them. Together we can.
Gowhar Rashid is PhD Researcher, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, SKIMS, Srinagar