Technology such as social media, messaging and video-calling apps helped authorities rescue 23 deaf and mute persons from Madhya Pradesh, who were stranded
in Gurgaon and Delhi ever since the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed in March. Deaf and mute persons employed with private firms and hotels in Delhi and Gurgaon were stuck because of the lockdown and were finding it difficult to survive, Gyanendra Purohit, director of Indore-based NGO Anand Survey Society told PTI on Tuesday.
"Our initial attempts to convince officials to rescue them failed. However, when it was announced that the lockdown would enter the third phase, people became restless and just wanted to come home," he said. The NGO had been highlighting the plight of these people on social media and residents of Haryana like Dr Hemant Atri arranged to provide essentials to them, Purohit said.
The organisation subsequently approached additional chief secretary ICP Keshari who set the ball rolling for the rescue, he said. Communicating with deaf and mute persons was a major challenge, he said, adding that text messages and video calls with sign language were the only means to stay in touch. With the help of Prakash Unhele, additional resident commissioner of MP in Delhi, 23 deaf and mute persons were transported to one place in Haryana and after several video calls, they were rescued and reached Gwalior on Monday.
"Majority of them are employed with Amazon and other private companies," he said, adding that the organisation was getting several calls from disabled persons from the state who are stuck in other parts of the country. Meanwhile, when asked if similar efforts would be taken for other stranded migrants, Keshari said, "We are not
against bringing people back, but their numbers should be at least enough to arrange buses for them. Our priority right now is to rescue migrants who were stranded on roads without any means to survive."