India's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has seen millions of labourers leaving big cities to return to their village homes. The Rashtriya Janata Dal party (RJD), which is an opposition party in the state of Bihar, India, shared a video criticising the conditions in which the labourers are forced to travel home. The short clip shows the heartbreaking attempts of a child to wake his deceased mother.
On Wednesday, Sanjay Yadav, the political advisor to RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav, posted the video on Twitter. In the video, departure and arrival announcements can be heard in the background. The young child is seen to be covering himself with the cloth his mother's body was covered with. He momentarily toddles away before returning to his mother to try and get her attention while she lay motionless on the platform.
The party member states that the woman's death was caused by hunger and thirst. He also questions who is to blame for her death. He writes: "The little child does not know that the sheet he is playing with is the shroud of a mother who has fallen asleep to death forever. This mother died due to being hungry and thirsty on the train for 4 days. Who is responsible for these deaths in trains? Strong questions should be asked to the opposition or not ??" (Translated)
Ramakant Upadhyay, the Deputy Superintendent of Police of the Government Railway Police in Muzaffarpur, Bihar shared more details about the mother in the video. He pointed out that the incident occurred on Monday. She was reportedly on the "Shramik Special train," which had been organised by the government to help labourers return from different parts of the country.
According to the Times of India, the woman was travelling from Ahmedabad, Gujarat to Muzaffarpur. The mother and child were not alone, Upadhyay stated. She was travelling with her sister and brother-in-law. Upadhyay said that her brother-in-law spoke to the police after the woman's death. He told the police that the 35-year-old woman had been under treatment for some medical condition and was "mentally unstable."
During the train journey, she passed away on the train. Her body was removed from the train and would be taken for a post-mortem examination to determine the cause of death. Upadhyaya did not share the names of the woman or her brother-in-law. It remains unknown what happened to the child after the video was shot.