A 12-year-old girl died in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur after walking about a hundred kilometres over three days through dense forests to reach her village from Perur in Telangana's Mulgu district, where she had gone with some relatives and friends to work at a chilli farm.
According to an Indian Express report, the tribal girl died on April 18 due to electrolyte imbalance and exhaustion, having walked for over three days with 13 others, covering over 100 km and dying barely 11 km away from home in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh.
Reportedly, Jamalo, the only child of Andoram (32) and Sukamati Madkam (30), on her first trip outside for the purpose of work, barely survived on the forest produce they collected. It was the first time she had gone out to work.
"She went to Telangana with some women from the village," her father, Andoram was quoted as saying.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announced Rs 1 lakh for Jamalo's family on April 20.
Earning money from picking chillies is a norm among many tribal populations in Chhattisgarh.
Recalling that he last heard that Jamalo had left Peruru village in Telangana, Andoram said, "They decided to come back after realising that the lockdown had got extended and they would not get any work."
The 13 other with Jamalo included three children and eight women.
Sources stated that Jamalo died around 8 am on April 18 at the border of Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. Only one person in the group had a phone, but the battery had run out, therefore they were unable to notify the family on time.
Only when the group reached Bhandarpal village in Bijapur district, could they managed to call her parents. The Bhandarpal villagers also alerted police.
Rushing as soon as the news reached, Medical Officer of Bijapur district Dr B R Pujari said, "Since Telangana had cases, we immediately sent our teams, but we couldn't find them."
A medical team from Bijapur caught up with the group on the outskirts of Bhandarpal village. Jamalo's body was taken to a morgue and the group was sent into a quarantine facility.
On April 19, Sunday evening, Andoram and Sukamati arrived to take their daughter's body.
"The girl is suspected to have died due to electrolyte imbalance and exhaustion, as the group had been walking three days. They walked through forests, and at one place, she also took a fall," Dr Pujari said.
A day after she died, Jamalo's test results for coronavirus came back negative.
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