Tribune News Service
Mumbai, May 8
At least 16 migrant workers who were trying to return home in Madhya Pradesh were run over by a goods train in Maharashtra's Aurangabad town, according to railways and the state police.
Three others were injured in the mishap which happened between Badnapur and Karmad stations in Parbhani-Manmad section of the railways.
The workers, who were employed at a steel processing unit in Jalna, chose to rest on the train tracks for the night when they were mowed down by the train a little after 5 am. In a message on Twitter, the railway ministry said the driver of the goods train tried to apply the brakes on spotting the people sleeping on the tracks but could not halt the train.
An inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
मालगाड़ी से कुचले जाने से मजदूर भाई-बहनों के मारे जाने की ख़बर से स्तब्ध हूं। हमें अपने राष्ट्र निर्माणकर्ताओं के साथ किये जा रहे व्यवहार पर शर्म आनी चाहिए। मारे गए लोगों के परिवारों के प्रति संवेदना व्यक्त करता हूं और घायलों के शीघ्र स्वस्थ होने की प्रार्थना करता हूं।— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 8, 2020
According to the Aurangabad police, the group of workers were on their way to Bhusaval, 170 km away, where they planned to catch a train to their villages in Madhya Pradesh. The group had started walking on Thursday morning along the train tracks and chose to rest for the night.
According to sources, migrants were walking on the train tracks in large numbers to avoid being caught by the police at checkpoints on the roads.
Vaibhav Kalumbarme, Superintendent of Government Railway Police, said the group of 19 workers had begun walking on Thursday morning and had covered 45 km. "They were too tired and did not hear the goods train approaching," he said.
The governments of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have announced cash compensation to the next of kin of the deceased.
Later in the day, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged migrant workers in the state not to give up hope and stay put where they were. "We are in touch with the central government to run as many trains as possible. Please do not give up hope and stay where you are," Thackeray said.
He said around one lakh migrants had reached home safely in the past few days and more trains are being organised to send other migrant workers to their homes.
Rahul condoles death of migrant labourers in Aurangabad
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday condoled the death of 16 migrant labourers after being run over by a goods train in Aurangabad and said one should be ashamed of the treatment meted out to “nation builders”.
In a tweet in Hindi, he said, “I am shocked at the news of the killing of labourers after being crushed under a goods train. We should be ashamed of the treatment being meted to our nation builders. My condolences to the families of those killed and I pray for the early recovery of the injured”.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also termed the incident as extremely sad and disturbing and demanded that adequate compensation be given to the families of those who died.
“During the nation-wide return of labourers, the incident that took place in Aurangabad is extremely sad and disturbing,” she said.
In a tweet in Hindi, she said the lockdown has “destroyed” the lives of the poor.
“They have no means to make a living. All the families who suffered in this incident should get compensation and all possible help,” she said.
The workers were returning to their home state Madhya Pradesh and due to exhaustion slept on the rail track, a police official said.
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