A toddler's vain attempt to wake up his dead mother from eternal sleep on a railway platform in Bihar's Muzaffarpur on Wednesday presented the most heart-breaking picture of the massive migrant tragedy unfolding across several states.
A video went viral yesterday, in which it can be seen that the child walking unsteadily up to his mother's body, tugging at the blanket placed over her, and when failing to wake her up, covering his own head with it.
As the mother still lay still, he wobbles away from her, announcements continuing in the background about the arrival and departure of trains that would bring in tens of thousands of people in a rush to get away from hunger and hardship they face in large cities that could sustain them no more.
However, police had a different story to tell. According to police the incident occurred on May 25 when the migrant woman was on way to Muzaffarpur from Ahmedabad by a Shramik Special train. Ramakant Upadhyay, the Dy SP of the Government Railway Police in Muzaffarpur, told reporters the woman, who was accompanied by her sister and brother-in-law, had died on the Madhubani bound train.
He said on getting information, police brought down the body and sent it for postmortem. Citing the brother-in-law of the deceased, Upadhyay said she was aged 35 years and was undergoing treatment for "some disease" for the last one year in Ahmedabad. "She was also mentally unstable," he said. When persistently queried about the cause of death, he said, "Only doctors can tell".
After the video went viral on social media, netizens took to Twitter and expressed their anger at the apathy of people in power towards the hardships faced by migrants.
Here's what netizens had to say:
A day after the video went viral, a lawyer has filed a complaint in National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regarding a video widely circulated on social media, wherein a woman died allegedly due to non-availability of food and basic facilities at Muzaffarpur Railway Station.
The humanitarian crisis still unfolding on highways and railway platforms has shone light on disturbing tales of entire families walking hundreds of kilometres with little children on foot in a seemingly endless march to escape hunger.
People have been found travelling on trucks and in the hollow of concrete mixing plants, and in many cases, dying from hunger and exhaustion before reaching their destinations.
(Inputs from Agencies)