Fifteen migrant workers, who were sleeping on the railway tracks while returning home, were killed on Friday after they came under a goods train in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district, police said. They were mowed down by the train at 5.15 am, an official told PTI. Two workers who were injured in the incident had been taken to a hospital.
Three others who were part of the same group survived as they were sleeping at a distance.
"The labourers, working in a steel factory in Jalna, left for their home state on foot last night. They came till Karmad and slept on tracks as they were tired," police officer Santosh Khetmalas said.
Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of South Central Railway (SCR) said that an empty rake of goods wagon ran over some people. RPF and local police are reaching spot to asses the situation, he said, accoding to ANI.
These workers had been walking along the rail tracks and slept on them due to exhaustion, the official said.
The Ministry of Railways tweeted, saying the loco pilot of goods train, after seeing some labourers on the track, tried to stop the wagon but eventually hit them between Badnapur and Karmad stations in Parbhani-Manmad section. "Injureds have been taken to Aurangabad Civil Hospital. Inquiry has been ordered," the tweet read.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, was anguished at the loss of lives in the unfortunate incident. He tweeted saying, "Extremely anguished by the loss of lives due to the rail accident in Aurangabad, Maharashtra."
"Have spoken to Railway Minister Shri Piyush Goyal and he is closely monitoring the situation. All possible assistance required is being provided," he said.
Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in different parts of the country had started their journeys back home on foot after the nationwide lockdown announced first in the last week of March was extended twice.
The interstate bus service, passenger, mail and express train services have been under suspension since March 24.
The railways started running Shramik Special trains to transport the stranded migrants to their native places on May 1.
(With inputs from agencies)