Railway officials found the body of a migrant labourer lying in a toilet of a “Shramik Special” train in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, The Indian Express reported on Friday. The officials found the body while cleaning the train in the Jhansi railway yard on May 27. The worker had boarded the train on May 23 to travel to Gorakhpur.
The Jhansi-Gorakhpur train left Jhansi on May 23 and reached Gorakhpur on May 24. Its rakes were then sent back to Jhansi for maintenance and sanitisation on May 27, the officials said, according to PTI. The deceased was identified as Mohan Lal Sharma, a resident of Basti district of Uttar Pradesh. His family members said he worked in Mumbai. On the route from Jhansi to Gorakhpur, Basti comes before Gorakhpur.
“We got information around 10 pm Wednesday regarding a body being found in a train at the Jhansi railway yard,” Jhansi Government Railway Police Inspector Anjana Verma said. “We immediately rushed there along with a medical team. The body was found in the toilet of the Shramik train and it had decomposed and was smelling. His face had swollen and we kept the body at the mortuary.”
Railway officials added that at no point during the train’s journey did any railway authority receive any call from the train for medical help. The Government Railway Police have sent Sharma’s body for an autopsy, and have taken samples for testing for coronavirus infection.
Railway officials said Sharma’s Aadhaar card, some documents and cash were found on his person. “The first opportunity for maintenance and sanitisation for the railways was when the rake reached Jhansi on May 27, when the staff recovered the body,” North Central Railway Spokesperson Ajit Kumar Singh said.
Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers began a long journey home on foot after March 25, when the Centre imposed a nationwide lockdown to combat the Covid-19 crisis. However, some died on the way. After much outcry, the Centre started “Shramik Special” trains from May 1 to ferry migrant workers. However, some labourers still continued to travel home on foot or in private vehicles. The fourth phase of the lockdown will end on May 31.
There have been reports of migrant workers dying in terrible circumstances. The Patna High Court on Thursday took note of a widely-shared video of a child trying to wake up his dead mother at Bihar’s Muzaffarpur railway station.
The video that went viral earlier this week showed the child playing with a cloth covering his mother’s body as announcements of train arrivals and departures continued in the background. The woman, identified as Arbeena, had reportedly died of extreme heat, hunger and dehydration. They had arrived in Bihar from Gujarat in a special train for migrant labourers and her family claimed she had fallen sick on the train due to lack of food and water.