Covid19 related human suffering: Perspective from Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu
W. Hamilton Jacob
As far as the issue of COVID-19 is concerned, it is nothing but a threat that has caused a very "panic-stricken" situation in people's lives. It evidently causes people to feel a complete isolation even amidst their own families relatives and neighbours. They feel as if they have been imprisoned in there own homes.
We are residents of Thalamuthu Nagar and Korampallam in Thoothukudi district,Tamilnadu. The people around our surrounding are facing corona related issues in difficult circumstances. The people of in our area are worried about their livelihoods more than the worry of corona virus which brings about a physical death, which they are not afraid of.
COVID-19 makes almost everyone an accused person and a suspect person in the society.We have lost not only our livelihood, but also our complete liberty in all aspects.
Some incidents narrated below provides a glimpse of the plight of the poor people in particular.
About 20 days ago, a man, who was taking his wife to the hospital in town from his village for a check-up since she is pregnant, was intimidated and struck by the police in front of his pregnant wife, without making any enquiry with them. Subsequently, they were allowed to go.
In another incident, a man who had gone to a shop during the relaxation hours, wearing handkerchief instead of face-mask was beatenn by the police standing nearby. He was then coerced to buy a face-mask at a mask-seller standing near them.
The economic hardship being faced by poor is not natural. A mobile tea-seller living nearby who usually goes from place to place to sell his ready-made tea among the people for the livelihood of his family that depends only on the daily-income he earns. But he has not been able to pursue is small tea business after the lock-down was enforced. Unable to sustain without any income, his impoverished condition compelled him to go out a few days ago to sell tea in order to escape severe poverty faced by his family. There was no other way for him to survive. While doing his business, one day he was stopped by a police. But after he told him his story to the police, he was pardoned. Two days after this incident, there he was again stopped by the police in the place where he had gone for his tea business. The police took his bike-key as he was caught selling tea outside. The man pleaded with him and informed the police about his poor condition. The police asked him to appear in the police station to get the key. He was sent away without the key. The tea-seller hasn't got his bike-key back till now!
These incidents indicate that similar similar situation prevails throughout the country.