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Aurangabad Train Tragedy: NHRC's Suo Moto Cognizance

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India has issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra and the District Magistrate, Aurangabad after taking suo moto cognizance of media reports about moving down of 16 migrant workers by an empty goods train in the early hours on 08 May 2020. The incident happened between Badnapur and Karmad stations in Nanded Division.

As indicated by the media reports, fourteen workers kicked the bucket on the spot and two others surrendered to wounds later. The laborers, who were strolling to Bhusawal from Jalna to board a "Shramik Unique" train to come back to Madhya Pradesh, were dozing on the railroad line when the accident happened among Badnapur and Karmad stations in Nanded Division. Apparently, around 20 laborers were strolling from Jalna to Bhusawal, which is around 150 kilometers. They halted subsequently to strolling for around 45 kilometers to take some rest and nodded off on the tracks. At around 5:15 AM, a merchandise train ran over them. The loco pilot, as referenced in the news report, had seen a few people along the tracks. He blared and furthermore attempted to stop the train however neglected to control the speed before hitting the casualties lying on the tracks. An inquiry in the issue has been requested by the Service of Railroads.

The NHRC has directed officers to submit a detailed report, within four weeks into the incident. It should also include details of the steps taken by the State and the district authorities to provide food, shelter, and other basic amenities to the poor people, especially the migrant laborers, who are facing extreme difficulties from every angle. The details of the relief and rehabilitation provided to the victim laborers and their dependents along with the status of the medical treatment provided to the injured are also required to be given in the report.

The Commission has observed that prima facie, the mishap can be termed as a train accident as normally it is not expected by anyone that some people will be sleeping on the railway tracks.

"However, the crucial aspect is that the poor laborers, who were already facing many hardships amid countrywide lockdown, were forced to walk on foot for a very long distance due to non-availability of any mode of transport, lost their lives due to apparent negligence by the district administration. Had some arrangements been made for their shelter or halt during their tiring journey, the painful tragedy could be averted", the NHRC observed.

The Commission in its ongoing request went in various cases, watched and communicated that there is a requirement for the administration offices to manage the circumstance emerging out of nationwide lockdown, reasonably, especially the individuals having a place with powerless areas of the general public. The demise of poor vagrant workers in such an agonizing catastrophe is surely an issue of infringement of human rights.


1. See, NHRC Press Release https://nhrc.nic.in/media/press-release/nhrc-notice-chief-secretary-government-maharashtra-and-district-magistrate.


Sakshi Arya is currently studying law from RTMNU's DR. B. R. Ambedkar College, Nagpur. You can contact them at:


Edited By: Swati Tolambia

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