Cardinal decries migrant deaths, industrial accidents in India
Updated: May 14, 2020
MUMBAI, India - Cardinal Oswald Gracias said his “heart wept” upon hearing the news that 15 migrant workers were crushed to death on Friday after falling asleep on railway tracks in Aurangabad, which is in India’s Maharashtra state.
One more person was hospitalized in the incident, and four others were treated for shock. The police said the migrants, who were headed to Madhya Pradesh in central India, apparently chose to walk on railway tracks to avoid the highway, where they risked getting stopped by authorities enforcing India’s COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown. Police said the men likely thought the trains weren’t running, due to the lockdown.
Millions of internal migrants - most of the day laborers with little savings - were trapped far from home with little money when the lockdown was declared on March 24 with just a few hours’ notice.
“I received this news with immense sorrow,” Gracias, the Archbishop of Bombay and President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India (CBCI), told Crux.
“My heart wept as I looked up and cried with the psalmist: ‘From the depths I cry to you O Lord, listen to my prayer for my people, see their sufferings, their pain, their poverty destitution and distress.’ It is heart-breaking to watch my people walking home, and they die trying to reach home,” the cardinal continued.