NHRC issues notices to Centre, Rlys, Gujarat and Bihar over migrants’ woes
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said Thursday that it has sent notices to the Union home secretary, the Railways and the governments of Gujarat and Bihar over hardships faced by migrants onboard special trains due to delay in services and lack of food and water allegedly leading to sickness and death of some of them.
In a statement, it observed that the “state has failed to protect the lives of the poor labourers onboard the trains”.
It said it has taken suo motu cognizance media reports that the trains which are ferrying the migrant labourers are not only starting late but are taking many additional days to reach their destinations.
“In one of the reports, it is alleged that many migrant labourers lost their lives during their journey by train due to longer duration and no arrangements for drinking water and food etc,” the NHRC said.
Two persons reportedly died in Muzaffarpur and one each in Danapur, Sasaram, Gaya, Begusarai and Jehanabad in Bihar, including a 4-year-old boy. All of them reportedly died due to hunger.
“In another incident, a train reportedly started from Surat district in Gujarat for Siwan in Bihar on May 16 and reached Bihar on May 25, after nine days,” the NHRC said.
The Commission has observed that the contents of the media reports, if true, amount to gross violations of human rights. The aggrieved families have suffered irrevocable loss, it said.
It has issued notices to the chief secretaries of Gujarat and Bihar, Chairman of the Railway Board (CRB) and Union home secretary seeking detailed reports.
The chief secretaries of the government of Gujarat and Bihar are expected to specifically inform as to what steps were taken to ensure basic facilities, including medical help for the migrant labourers who boarded the trains, it said. The response from all the authorities is expected within four weeks positively, the statement said.
On Wednesday, at least seven deaths were reported aboard Shramik Special trains that have been deployed to ferry stranded migrants but the Indian Railways said most died of existing illnesses.