A migrant worker and his wife were killed in a car crash on Thursday morning in Lucknow, while attempting to cycle their way from a village near the city to their hometown in Chhattisgarh, amid the nationwide lockdown imposed to combat the coronavirus, NDTV reported.
The lockdown, imposed on March 25 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, has been extended two times since – first to May 3 and then to May 17.
Krishna Sahu and his wife Pramila were cycling with their children on Lucknow’s Shaheed Path bypass road, when a speeding vehicle hit them, District Commissioner of Police East Soman Barma said, according to News18. The couple was taken to a local hospital but succumbed to their injuries. Their children – a three-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter – were admitted to the Lohia Hospital in Lucknow and survived the crash.
A photograph taken at the site of the accident showed Sahu and his wife lying unconscious next to the mangled remains of their cycle. Following the couple’s death, the police gave the custody of the children to Sahu’s brother. The police are tracing the whereabouts of the car driver involved in the crash.
Other migrant labourers pooled in a sum of Rs 15,000 to conduct the last rites of Krishna Sahu and Pramila, as their family lacked resources to do so. They were cremated at the Gulale Ghat in Lucknow on Thursday evening.
There have been other incidents of deaths of migrant labourers in accidents in the recent past. At least 16 migrant labourers were killed early on Friday after a cargo train ran over them in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district. The workers, who were walking back home to Madhya Pradesh, had fallen asleep on the rail tracks sometime during the night.
In March, 22 migrant workers died while attempting to make their way to their hometowns on foot. On May 4, a migrant labourer identified as Dharamvir died in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur. He was part of a group cycling from Delhi to Bihar’s Khagaria.
Struggling to make ends meet, lakhs of migrant workers have demanded permission to go back to their hometowns. Driven by desperation, many have attempted to cycle or even travel home on foot, but have been stopped due to the closure of state borders.
On Thursday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath said no migrant labourer should have to walk back home from big cities amid the lockdown. The state government “has been actively engaged in bringing them (migrants) back safely”, a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office read.
The Centre has begun operating special trains to move migrant workers, pilgrims and students stranded in various states back to their hometowns.