Another migrant tragedy: 17 hit by a train while sleeping on the tracks
by Nirmala Carvalho

The accident took place at 5.20 this morning. The migrants were returning to their villages, travelling over 800 km. Exhausted, they fell sleep on the tracks. Due to the lockdown, migrants are without aid in the cities. Transport is also blocked.

Aurangabad (AsiaNews) - At least 17 migrant workers were killed and five others were injured by a freight train that hit them along the tracks in Aurangabad (Maharashtra). The accident happened this morning around 5.20am. The injured were hospitalized in Aurangabad hospital.

Police revealed that the 17 killed were migrants from Shahdol and Umaria (Madhya Pradesh) districts. The migrants were returning to Madhya Pradesh on foot, following the railway, for a route of over 800 km. Due to the lockdown that has lasted in the country since March 24, millions of migrant workers have been stuck in the big cities without work, without pay and without food. This is why they wish to return to their villages of origin. The almost total blockade of transport - due to the quarantine - forced many of them to face the return home on foot.

The group of killed migrants was walking from Jalna to Bhusawal. According to the police, they left Jalna at 7 p.m. yesterday evening. After walking for 36 km, exhausted, they started to rest and then to sleep on the tracks, thinking that since there was a block, no train would pass.

Instead this morning, a freight train, carrying empty tanks, arrived and hit the migrants. According to the railway authorities, the train driver tried to brake, but it was of no use.