Child tries to wake dead mother at Muzaffarpur railway stationUpdated: May 27, 2020, 23:40 IST
The woman’s body is in a makeshift shroud on a railway platform; her two-and-half year old son, unaware that his mother his dead, keeps trying to wake her up. At one point, he puts part of the shroud over his own face, and then takes it off playfully. In the background, the loudspeaker announces the arrival of yet another Shramik Special train.
This heart-rending video clip barely 14 seconds long, went viral on social media on Wednesday, although the incident is believed to have taken place on Monday at Muzzaffarpur railway station in Bihar.
On May 25, a Shramik Special from Gujarat ferrying 1650 migrants from Ahmedabad pulled into Muzaffarpur at 3.30 pm. Among them was Arvina Khatoon, a 35-year-old resident of Srikol Marandanga in Katihar, who had passed away barely hours before the train reached her home district of Katihar, which was the final stop of the train.
Accompanied by her two children, including a 4-year-old, her sister, brother-in-law, Mohammed Wazir and their seven-year old child, Khatoon had reportedly died at noon during the journey. Her body was placed on the platform and covered with a shroud soon after the train reached the station. It remained there for well over an hour.
“When the train reached Muzaffarpur railway station, we were informed about the body of a woman in the train. We took the body out and asked for her relatives. Mohammed Wazir came forward and provided details. They were headed to Katihar. Wazir also told us that the woman was unwell for four days before catching the train. She died in the train by 12 noon on Monday,” deputy superintendent of the government railway police, Ramakant Upadhyay said.
According to Indian railways protocol on deaths in trains, the railway police takes charge of the body, prepares an initial report and a post-mortem is carried out. However, Khatoon’s body was not sent for post-mortem, district officials said.
A release issued on Tuesday by the district public relation officer of Muzaffarpur Kamal Singh stated that Khatoon’s death was declared a natural death by a team of doctors deputed at the railway station to monitor incoming migrants and a post-mortem was not carried out.
At 5.30 pm, an ambulance took the family and Khatoon’s body to their village where her father Mir Islam lives in their ancestral home. She was buried on Tuesday.
As the video of her body lying prone on the platform went viral, several remarked that she had died due to hunger and dehydration -- a charge that the railway authorities were quick to dismiss.
“The woman’s family members have said she was already unwell. Request all not to spread fake news,” said Rajesh Kumar, spokesperson of east central railway. He added that a doctor attached to the east central railways also examined the woman’s body.
“She was ill before boarding the train,” Wazir, a labourer who worked in a textile factory in Surat, told HT. The family of six had hired a taxi to ferry them from Surat to Ahmedabad -- a journey of 200-odd kilometres that cost them Rs 4000 -- on May 23. They boarded the train the same day.
Khatoon’s children will continue to live with their maternal grandfather and Khatoon’s sister. Their father is migrant worker in Ahmedabad, and had divorced Khatoon a year ago.
According to the ministry of railways, over 3500 Shramik Special trains have ferried more than 4.8 million passengers till date; 80% of them were destined for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.