He had been cycling for four days straight, home was still far away. On May 9, Indian migrant worker Sagheer Ansari, took a break as he reached Lucknow, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and sat down on a road divider to have some puffed rice for breakfast. About 500kms away, in his hometown in Bihar, his wife and three children, waited for his return. Tragically, a car ran him over and killed him.
Saddened Twitter users shared the news story, continuing to highlight the plight of India’s poor migrant workers.
The 26-year-old was trying to cycle over 1,000kms from Delhi to East Champaran, Bihar. He and seven of his friends had begun their trip on May 5 after being unable to find work because of the coronavirus lockdown in India. So far, they had only covered half the distance.
According to the First Information Report (FIR), the group was sitting on a road divider, at around 10am, on Saturday, when a car with Lucknow number plate lost control and hit Ansari after hitting the divider. A tree planted on the concrete partition saved others.
According to news reports, Ansari's co-travellers said the car driver stopped to offer them money as compensation but refused later. The migrant worker was then rushed to a hospital, where he died while under treatment.
Reportedly, a local non-profit organisation and political workers arranged money for an ambulance to send his body home.
News reports say, the driver has been arrested and will be sent to jail. The police have registered a case against the driver for causing death due to negligence.
Five migrant workers killed in an accident
In another tragic incident, five migrant workers were killed and 11 others were injured after a truck carrying them overturned in Patha village in Narsinghpur of Madhya Pradesh. The incident happened on Sunday night when the truck met with the accident some 200 km away from Bhopal.
The migrant workers who were residents of the state of Uttar Pradesh, were travelling from Hyderabad, in a truck that was transporting mangoes, due to the COIVD-19 lockdown
According to an ANI report, there is also a fear that the migrant workers have already been infected with COVID-19 after one of them showed symptoms like fever and cough. "One of them has cough, cold and fever for three days so we've conducted samplings of all of them, including the dead," Civil Surgeon, Dr. Anita Agrawal said.
This is the second major mishap involving migrant workers, amid the lockdown. On Friday, 16 migrant workers were killed after they were run over by a cargo train while they were sleeping on the tracks in Maharashtra. They were part of a group of 20 migrant workers who were walking to cover the nearly 160 km journey, from Maharashtra to Madhya Pradesh, after they could not find a train or other means of transport.
The lockdown has left millions of migrant workers in India, stranded in various cities, unable to go home. After more than a month, the Indian Railways, last week, began running special trains to ferry the migrants to their villages. However, many could not afford to buy the train tickets or would have to wait due to the low frequency of the trains. This forced them to look for other options like walking or travelling on trucks.
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Covering 1,200km on one leg
One such migrant was is a differently-abled migrant worker who, with the support of a cane stick, plans on walking 1,200 kilometers on foot, from Mumbai, all the way back to his village in Madhya Pradesh.
Reportedly, Ajay Kumar Saket, whose right leg is impaired, due to polio, lost his source of income and was left with no money or food. He worked at a tiny stall in Navi Mumbai's Turbhe area, reported India Today
He said he had registered for the Shramik train and had also managed to get a medical certificate. But couldn't wait any longer as he ran out of food. He had already covered 10kms when he was interviewed by an India Today TV reporter.
Twitter users continue to say, the Indian government needs to make better decisions as far as the situation, of the country’s 100 million internal migrants, is concerned.
India’s COVID-19 lockdown has been extended through May 18. Meanwhile coronavirus cases are on a rise in the country. As of today, India has reported 67,152 cases and the death toll stands at 2,206