Four workers die on board Shramik trains; Video of toddler shocks web

Chennai: Four passengers on board Shramik Special trains were found dead in Uttar Pradesh’s Ballia and Kanpur, officials said.

Police said one of the victims was 58-year-old Bhushan Singh, a resident of Bihar’s Saran district. He was found dead in the Surat-Hajipur Shramik special train in Ballia, SP Devendra Nath, said. The body has been sent for a post-mortem, police said. The other man found dead in Ballia was travelling in the Madgaon-Darbangha train.

Additional Superintendent of Police Sanjay Yadav on Wednesday said, “A special train from Madgaon to Darbangha reached Ballia on Tuesday evening. In the train, Shobran Kumar (28), a resident of Janakpur, Nepal, was travelling. His medical check-up was done, and he was admitted to the district hospital. On Wednesday, he died.”

Meanwhile in Kanpur, two middle-aged migrants on board the Jhansi-Goraphpur Shramik trains were found dead.

Officials said one them was identified as Ram Awadh Chauhan (45) while the identity of the other hasn’t been established so far. Giving details about the deceased, GRP’s Station House Officer (Kanpur Central), Ram Mohan Rai said Chauhan, a resident of Makraunda, Jahanaganj in Azamgarh, was going to Azamgarh from Mumbai. Chauhan had reached Jhansi from Mumbai on a Shramik train. He boarded another train for Gorakhpur from Jhansi and died on the way.

“He was suffering from diabetes,’ Rai said, adding that he had complained of having difficulty in breathing, terrifying other passengers. The SHO said details of the other passenger could not be retrieved. Both bodies were sent for a post-mortem examination,” he said, adding that sample have been taken for coronavirus testing.

Meanwhile, a toddler’s vain attempt to wake up his dead mother from eternal sleep on a railway platform in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur on Wednesday presented the most poignant picture of the massive migrant tragedy unfolding across several states.

A video tweeted by Sanjay Yadav, an aide to RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, shows the child walking unsteadily up to his mother’s body, tugging at the blanket placed over her, and when failing to wake her up, covering his own head with it.

As the mother still lay still, he wobbles away from her, announcements continuing in the background about the arrival and departure of trains that would bring in tens of thousands of people in a rush to get away from hunger and hardship they face in large cities that could sustain them no more.

“This small child doesn’t know that the bedsheet with which he is playing is the shroud of his mother who has gone into eternal sleep. This mother died of hunger and thirst after being on a train for four days. Who is responsible for these deaths on trains? Shouldn’t the opposition ask uncomfortable questions?” tweeted Yadav. However, police had a different story to tell.

Ramakant Upadhyay, the Dy SP of the Government Railway Police in Muzaffarpur, said the incident occurred on 25 May when the migrant woman was on way to Muzaffarpur from Ahmedabad by a Shramik Special train.

He told reporters the woman, who was accompanied by her sister and brother-in-law, had died on the Madhubani bound train.

“My sister-in-law died suddenly on the train. We did not face any problem getting food or water,’ the officer said, quoting the deceased’s brother-in-law who he did not name. He said on getting information, poice brought down the body and sent it for postmortem.
Citing the brother-in-law of the deceased, Upadhyay said she was aged 35 years and was undergoing treatment for ‘some disease’ for the last one year in Ahmedabad. ‘She was also mentally unstable,” he said.

When persistently queried about the cause of death, he said, ‘Only doctors can tell’. A massive exodus of migrant workers is on in several parts of the country, unprecedented in magnitude since Partition.

The humanitarian crisis still unfolding on highways and railway platforms has shone light on disturbing tales of entire families walking hundreds of kilometres with little children on foot in a seemingly endless march to escape hunger.

People have been found travelling on trucks and in the hollow of concrete mixing plants, and in many cases, dying from hunger and exhaustion before reaching their destinations.

(Inputs from PTI)

NT Bureau