A 40-year-old farm labourer died of hunger and dehydration while walking from Pune, Maharashtra, to his village in Parbhani district, over 360 km away, the police said today.
Pintu Pawar's body was found on Monday at Dhanora in Beed district, 200 km from his village, said assistant inspector Dnyneshwar Kuklare of Ambhora police station.
"The postmortem was done later and it was found that he died due to exhaustion due to excessive walking, hunger and dehydration around May 15," the official said.
The man, who worked as sugarcane cutter in cane fields, was a native of Dhopte Pondul village. He was visiting his parents at his sister's house in Pune when the lockdown was imposed on March 25.
According to his sister Kaveri Jadhav, he became restless as lockdown continued and decided to walk home. He left Pune on May 8.
Pintu Pawar reached Ahmednagar on May 14. As he did not have a mobile phone, he contacted his family by using someone else's phone.
Dhanora, where his body was found, is 30 to 35 km from Ahmednagar. The death came to light when someone complained of foul smell from a roadside shed, the police said.
Pintu Pawar's funeral was performed by officials of the Dhanora gram panchayat and the police after consulting his family members, the police official said.
"My son who is seven years old keeps asking everyone when will his father return," said Chandrakala Pawar, the man's wife.
"He even calls up relatives on phone and asks the question... He is yet to understand the truth," she added.
"We were away from home for around four to five months. We were about to return to our village. My husband told me that he will meet his parents in Pune and return. That was our last conversation," she said.
"Our son's future is now my biggest concern," she added.
The man's sister said she and her parents "begged" him not to undertake the journey on foot.
"As the lockdown continued, he became very restless, saying he wanted to go home as he had not seen his son for six months," she said. "I told him I would pay for fare, but he was adamant on going on foot with a group of migrants from Parbhani. I and my parents begged him not to go walking but in vain," she added.
"He called me from someone else's phone a few times. But not once he complained that he was unwell. When I asked about food, he said he got food packets on the way," Ms Jadhav said. "I should not have allowed him to leave."