Only four from the group of 20 survived; three of them were sleeping away from the tracks. (File)
They had started their journey on foot from Maharashtra hoping to reach Madhya Pradesh, but it was their bodies that reached their home districts of Shahdol and Umaria by special trains on Saturday afternoon.
The bodies of sixteen migrant labourers who were mown down by a goods train in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district were brought to Jabalpur by two bogies attached to a special train.
From Jabalpur, the coaches were further sent to Shahdol and Umaria, said a police officer.
A bogie with five bodies reached Umaria around 3 pm, where district officials received them and sent them to their villages in ambulances, he said.
The five who were killed belonged to two villages Chilhari and Maman.
Another bogie with 11 bodies reached Shahdol around 4 pm. Local Member of Parliament Himadri Singh and senior officials were present at the railway station. These 11 people belonged to the villages of Antoli and Shahargarh of Shahdol district.
In both the districts, officials accompanied the ambulances carrying the bodies to respective villages, where the last rites would be performed.
Sixteen migrant workers sleeping on rail tracks while returning to Madhya Pradesh were crushed to death by a goods train in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra in the early hours of Friday.
The labourers, working in a steel factory in Jalna, left for their home state on foot. Exhausted, they slept on the tracks near Karmad, not knowing that traffic of goods trains had not ceased despite lockdown for coronavirus.
Only four from the group of 20 survived; three of them were sleeping away from the tracks.
Rendered jobless due to the lockdown and desperate to go to their native places, they were walking along the rail tracks apparently to escape police attention, officials said.