On Thursday, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said it had sent
ress-release/nhrc-notices-chief-secretaries-gujarat-and-bihar-chairman-railway-board-and" target="_blank">notices to the Union Home Secretary, the Railways and the Gujarat and Bihar governments about the hardships faced by migrants onboard trains due to delays in services and lack of food and water supposedly leading to some of them being sick and dying.
The NHRC stated in a statement that the state has failed to protect the lives of the poor workers on the trains. The NHRC has taken suo motu awareness of media reports that the trains that are ferrying migrant labourers not only start late but take many more days to reach their destination, it said.
"In one of the reports, it is alleged that many migrant labourers lost life during their journey by train due to longer duration and no arrangements for drinking water and food etc.," the statement says.
Two people have reportedly died in Muzaffarpur and one in Danapur, Sasaram, Gaya, Begusarai and Jehanabad in Bihar, including a four-year-old boy. They were all reported to have died of hunger. In another incident, a train reportedly departed from Surat district in Gujarat for Siwan in Bihar on 16.05.2020. It reached Bihar on 25.05.2020, i.e. after nine days.
The Commission has observed that the content of the media reports, if true, amounts to gross violations of human rights. The aggrieved families have suffered irrevocable losses, he said.
It, therefore, issued notices to the Chief Secretaries of Gujarat and Bihar, the Chairman of the Railway Board (CRB) and the Union Home Secretary seeking detailed reports.
The Chief Secretaries of the Government of Gujarat and Bihar are expected to provide specific information as to what steps have been taken to ensure basic facilities, including medical assistance for migrant workers who have boarded the trains.
The response of all the authorities is expected within four weeks, adds the statement.
The statement also stated that the host state needed to take care of them and provide them with basic amenities. However, it noted that complaints were received from different parts of the country about unnecessary harassment of people by public authorities. It has emerged from the whole scenario that people belonging to vulnerable classes have suffered the most.