The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government over reported death of a 19-year-old migrant worker due to hunger in Saharanpur, after he had walked 350 km from Ludhiana on way to his home in the state, officials said on Wednesday.
The NHRC has described Vipin Kumar's death as a "serious issue of human rights violation".
The rights panel has observed that it is not the first time that it has come across such an incident relating to painful conditions of the migrant labourers, their illness, delivery of babies on roads and their deaths during their journey back home in the wake of the COVID19-induced lockdown.
The NHRC, in a statement, said it has issued a notice to the chief secretary of Uttar Pradesh after taking suo motu cognisance of a media report that 19-year-old Kumar died in Saharanpur due to hunger after walking six days covering 350 kilometres from Ludhiana.
He was headed for his home in Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh, it said.
The report sought from the state government in four weeks is expected to provide details about the present status of the migrant labourers of Uttar Pradesh stuck in different states, who are willing to come back to their native places and the steps being taken to ensure their smooth journey back home, the statement said.
It further observed that there are media reports that the government of Uttar Pradesh has directed to provide shaded shelter, food and drinking water to the migrant labourers at toll plazas on national highways and in the buses they will travel.
However, it seems that the announcements made by government agencies are not being implemented on the ground due to which the migrant labourers are still suffering, the statement added.
According to the media report, V Kumar used to work at a shop in Ludhiana. He had embarked on a long journey to his home in Sursa, Hardoi on foot on May 12.
"But walking continuously for six days without food and covering over 350 km, he fell on the road near Saharanpur. An ambulance spotted him lying on the road and shifted him to a district hospital. But he could not be saved. Doctors said he died of hunger," the statement said, quoting the report.
Reportedly, Kumar had informed his family on May 12 that he was returning home.
His father, as mentioned in the news report, stated that Kumar had no other option but to walk down, the statement said.