A photo of the 12-year-old migrant worker who died
A photo of the 12-year-old migrant worker who died Image Credit: Twitter

Months after extreme poverty pushed a 12-year-old to work as a daily wage earner in the Indian state of Telangana, which later resulted in her death due to exhaustion, her father has expressed serious concern for his other children.

The parents of Jamlo Madkami are mourning the minor who died walking 100 kilometres home, after a chilli farm she had gone to work in shut following the coronavirus lockdown in India.

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After her death, ration cards for all the villagers, free rice from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop seven kilometres away, and Rs 1 lakh (Dh 4,907) for her family were reportedly provided by the government.

“For days after we had cremated her, people kept coming,” the deceased’s 35-year-old father, Andoram Madkami, was quoted as saying.

'Don't want my children to work'

“I have opened bank accounts for my other three children with Rs 30,000 (Dh1,472) each and spent Rs 10,000 (Dh490) on Jamlo’s funeral. My wife and I have no use for the money, we don’t want our children to have to work,” he added.

Jamlo had left for a chilli farm in Telangana in February as her father works as a small paddy farmer, barely making ends meet. Andoram claims they came to know Jamlo had left for Telangana after she had gone. “She went with other girls, women from the village. Since they do so every year, we didn’t pay much heed,” he was quoted as saying by local media reports.

Walked for three days before dying

According to Indian news outlets, villagers who went with Jamlo say the owner who hired them as farm help, in Peruru village, did not pay them.

They reportedly waited a month before deciding to leave, without getting their dues. They had been walking three days when Jamlo collapsed on April 18 morning and died. A postmortem relieved that she died due to electrolyte imbalance and malnutrition, local news outlets reported.

Indian media reported stated that currently the Madkamis live in a one-room cement house with a thatched roof. They have put a metal asbestos sheet on it and are trying to repair the house as the rains pelt down.

Their eldest child Budhru, 14, works on the roof of a cow shed, that now holds two cows and an ox, donated by people following Jamlo’s death. Of the Makdami's four children, only eight-year-old Sarita is in school. The closest school is five kilometres away. The couple also has a four-year-old child.