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Maha train tragedy: Fear of COVID-19, emotional calls from mothers led migrants to walk home

The goods train ran over 16 migrant workers near Aurangabad at 5.15 am on Friday when they were in a deep sleep. The four who survived the tragedy were sleeping away from the track.

Published: 09th May 2020 08:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th May 2020 08:02 PM   |  A+A-

These migrants were resting at train track after walking a day from Jalna to Aurangabad. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

The fear of dying from COVID-19 in Jalna had compelled migrant workers to walk towards their home state of Madhya Pradesh, said one of the survivors of the train accident near Aurangabad.

The goods train ran over 16 migrant workers at 5.15 am on Friday when they were in a deep sleep. After walking 35 kilometres from Jalna to Aurangabad, they decided to sleep on the railway track at Satana near Aurangabad. The four migrants who survived the tragedy were sleeping away from the track.

Santosh Khetmala, an inspector from Karmad police station in Aurangabad, told The New Indian Express over the phone that the survivors who were working in Jalna’s steel factory said they were getting food on time but the fear of being infected by COVID-19 and phone calls from their family members forced them to go back to Madhya Pradesh.

One of the survivors told Khetmala that their mothers had threatened to kill themselves if they did not return. The migrants' emotional attachment to their family members compelled them to pack their bags and leave Jalna, said Khetmala.

He said the migrants thought there were no trains running so nothing will happen to them even if they sleep on a railway track. “We can call it destiny, nothing else. It is very unfortunate to see migrants dying in such a horrific way,” said the police officer investigating the case.

The Maharashtra labour department has ordered an inquiry into the incident. “We are collecting evidence and recording the statements of the motorman and guard man,” said the police officer.

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