Aurangabad tragedy could have been averted: NHRC

Commission issues notice to Maharashtra Chief Secretary and Aurangabad District Magistrate

Published - May 08, 2020 11:30 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Aurangabad, 08/05/2020: Police team investigates the railway track near Aurangabad after a goods train ran over migrant workers

Aurangabad, 08/05/2020: Police team investigates the railway track near Aurangabad after a goods train ran over migrant workers

The National Human Rights Commission on Friday said the tragic incident of a goods train mowing down 16 migrant workers sleeping on the track in Aurangabad could have been avoided had arrangements been made for their shelter.

Taking suo motu cognisance of media reports, the NHRC issued notices to the Maharashtra Chief Secretary and the Aurangabad District Magistrate on the death of the 16 workers on the track between Badnapur and Karmad stations early on Friday morning. They were asked to submit reports within four weeks and provide information about the steps taken to give food, shelter and other basic amenities to those suffering during the lockdown, particularly migrant workers.

Train accident

The NHRC noted that prima facie the incident was a train accident as the workers sleeping on the track was not expected normally.

Also read: Maharashtra train accident victims were battling hunger

“However, the crucial aspect is that the poor labourers, who were already facing many hardships amid countrywide lockdown, were forced to walk on foot for a very long distance due to non-availability of any mode of transport, lost their lives due to apparent negligence by the district administration. Had some arrangements been made for their shelter or halt during their tiring journey, the painful tragedy could be averted,” the NHRC said.

The NHRC reiterated that it had passed orders in recent cases about the need for government agencies to deal with the lockdown situation sensibly.

“Death of poor migrant labourers in such a painful tragedy is indeed an issue of violation of human rights,” it said.

The workers were walking from Jalna to Bhusawal, a distance of about 150 km, in order to catch a special train for migrant workers hit by the coronavirus lockdown back to their home State of Madhya Pradesh. They had stopped about 45 km into their journey when they were run over by an empty goods train.

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