Opposition slams Centre for Aurangabad migrant workers deaths

‘Govt.’s apathy towards migrant labour to blame for 16 being run over by train’

Updated - May 08, 2020 09:39 pm IST

Published - May 08, 2020 09:34 pm IST - New Delhi

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 23, 2019 Indian National Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi looks on during a press conference in New Delhi. - India's Rahul Gandhi on July 3, 2019 resigned as president of the main opposition Congress, taking responsibility for the party's second-straight landslide defeat to right-wing Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi in national elections. (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP)

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 23, 2019 Indian National Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi looks on during a press conference in New Delhi. - India's Rahul Gandhi on July 3, 2019 resigned as president of the main opposition Congress, taking responsibility for the party's second-straight landslide defeat to right-wing Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi in national elections. (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP)

Opposition parties on Friday held the Centre responsible for the death of 16 migrant workers, who were run over by a goods train in Aurangabad , contending that the sudden announcement of the lockdown in March coupled with the government’s apathy towards the stranded labourers had led to the tragic incident.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in a post on Twitter, slammed the government for the treatment meted out to the migrant workers. “I am shocked by the news of the killing of our labourer brothers and sisters as a result of being crushed by a goods train. We should be ashamed of the treatment being meted out to our nation builders. My condolences to the families of those killed and prayers for the early recovery of the injured,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that the lockdown had robbed the migrant workers of any means to make a living and demanded that the government should pay compensation and extend all possible help to those affected by the incident.

The “heartbreaking incident” had occurred due to “criminal” neglect by the government, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury asserted. “The death of these poor labourers is solely due to the sudden announcement of a lockdown and denial of transport to them for weeks, while not providing a substantive relief package. It is criminal what has been done to them by the Central govt,” Mr. Yechury tweeted.

“The migrant workers are being treated in a most inhumane manner by the government,” CPI General Secretary D. Raja said, terming the deaths in the accident a “deliberate killing”. “They have practically left them to fend for themselves without any aid or help,” he added.

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in a series of tweets asserted that the Central and State governments appeared to be oblivious of the fact that thousands of migrant workers were still walking back to their home States. “The decision to provide buses and trains was hopelessly belated . Meanwhile lakhs of persons had begun their trek to their home states.” Asserting that the transport policy was “poorly designed, planned, coordinated and implemented” he said, “Once the policy was announced, government should have gone to the rescue of the trekkers and provided buses or trains to them to continue their journey”. The tragedy could have been avoided if governments had gone to the rescue of the migrant workers in time, the Congress leader added.

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