Five migrant labourers died and 15 were injured in Madhya Pradesh late last night when a truck they were travelling in overturned in a village, about 200 km away from state capital Bhopal. The group of 20 started their journey from Hyderabad and they were headed to Madhya Pradesh's Jhansi city and a town in Uttar Pradesh in a truck carrying mangoes.
The truck overturned in a village in Narsinghpur, said officials. Those injured have been admitted to a hospital, they said, adding that two of them are critical.
All of them were tested for coronavirus after one labourer showed symptoms of the highly contagious illness, which has infected over 60,000 across the country and killed more than 1,900.
The incident comes two days after 16 migrants in a group of 20 were run over by a cargo train while they were sleeping on the tracks in Maharashtra, prompting outpouring of condolences nationwide. They were walking from Jalna in Maharashtra to Bhusaval in Madhya Pradesh, 157 km apart.
The police said the labourers apparently chose to walk on railway tracks to avoid the highway, where they risked getting stopped. The group likely assumed that trains were not running due to the coronavirus lockdown and exhausted from walking a long distance, they slept off on the tracks, according to police.
Lakhs of migrants, students and others were left stranded in March after a nationwide lockdown, including shutting of public transport, due to the pandemic was announced with only a few hours' notice. Left with no money, food or shelter, they set out for home on foot, or on cycles, triggering a humanitarian crisis.
Despite efforts by centre and states to help them reach home on special trains and buses, many still continue the long walk home.