A train in India crashed into a group of migrant workers walking along the railroad tracks on to their way back to their home state on Friday, killing at least 16.
The railway ministry has launched a probe into the incident.
According to railway officials, the workers were walking towards their home state Madhya Pradesh after they lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Most public transportation has already been canceled due to the lockdown.
These workers had started from Jalna to go to Bhusawal (both in Maharashtra) – a distance of 157 kilometer – and had planned to go to their native places Umariya and Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh, which is about 850 kilometers away.
According to railways, they left Jalna at 7 pm on Thursday and initially walked on-road and later onto the track towards Aurangabad. After walking for about 36 kilometers, these workers started feeling tired and sat on the track between Karnad and Badnapur railway stations for taking some rest. They gradually went into a deep sleep.
It was at 5.22 am that the approaching goods train ran over these laborers, the railways’ ministry said in a statement. The driver tried to stop the train but couldn’t do so in time, it added.
There were 14 people on the track, two adjacent to the track, and three away from it, the railways said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths on Twitter. “Extremely anguished by the loss of lives due to the rail accident in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. I have spoken to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and he is closely monitoring the situation. All possible assistance required is being provided,” he tweeted.
Amid the nationwide lockdown, thousands of migrant workers stranded in several other cities have been on an unending toil to return to their native places on foot.
The interstate bus service, passenger, mail and express train services have been suspended since March 24.
(With inputs from hindustantimes)