This is a public database of reported deaths that have happened as a result of the lockdown. These include deaths due to starvation and financial distress, exhaustion, accidents during migration, lack or denial of medical care, suicides, police brutality, crimes, and alcohol-withdrawal. We also have a few deaths wherein more details are needed, or where conflicting reports emerge. We put such deaths in the ‘unclassified’ category.
The database is maintained voluntarily by Aman (Assistant Professor of Legal Practice at Jindal Global School of Law), Kanika Sharma (PhD student at Emory University), Krushna (PhD student at Syracuse University) and Thejesh GN (Public Interest Technologist). We are grateful for the support from Roadscholarz, a group of freelance scholars and student volunteers interested in action-oriented research, socio-economic rights and related issues.
Last updated on: 4th July 2020.
Table of Contents
Color Chart for Category
- 1. DarkGreen: Exhaustion (walking, standing in lines)
- 2. DarkOliveGreen: Starvation and financial distress
- 3. DarkSeaGreen: Police brutality or state violence
- 4. LawnGreen: Lack of medical care or attention
- 5. SandyBrown: Death by crimes associated with lockdown (not communal)
- 6. Cyan: Accidents due to walking or during migration
- 7. Magenta: Alcohol withdrawal-related deaths and suicides
- 8. LightGray: Suicides due to fear of infection, loneliness, & lack of freedom of movement, inability to go home
- 9. Blue: Deaths in Shramik Trains
- 10. MediumPurple: Deaths in quarantine centres
- 11. Yellow: Unclassified (unclear, unable to categorize, need more details)
The data is available in the CSV (comma separated values) format for download . It has the following columns.
- DB_LASTUPDATED_SET - Ignore this column
- S. No - Ignore this column
- Incident Location
- Date of incident
- No. of deaths
- Reason of death
- Date of publication
- Category - Refer the color chart above for category details
- Name(s) and age
- Occupation Category
You can sort by clicking on the column names and you can filter using the search box.
1. Why are we recording these deaths?
It is our belief that such deaths must not be lost sight of when assessing the impact of the lockdown. This is one of the many attempts to keep a record of the human costs of the lockdown. There is an active denial of the crisis caused by the unplanned lockdown, and therefore, it becomes more important to record these deaths for public memory.
We realise that deaths are not the only metric to assess the human costs and this effort by us should be seen in conjunction with many others who are tracking the problems that individuals are facing as a consequence of the lockdown.
2. How is the database created?
Deaths are compiled from newspapers and online news portals. We conduct daily news searches primarily in English and Hindi, and a few vernaculars (Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Bengali, Odia, Telugu and Malayalam). Volunteers help us translate. Friends and followers also alert us to cases. We read each case check for duplicates, and add on the database and ensure that we rely on a news report (as opposed to tweets, facebook posts and unverified information).
3. Why do some links appear multiple times in the database?
Because it may refer to multiple incidents. The same link may appear more than once with different incidents (checked by date, place, other background details).
Similarly, the same link may indicate multiple incidents which may have been accounted for in some other link and only appears once.
4. When did we start recording?
The earliest incident we have recorded is 2020-03-19. Some states like Karnataka had restrictions/lockdown from March 14th, much before the country-wide lockdown was announced. We have recorded incidents since then.
5. What are the limitations?
We rely on news reports. Only a fraction of deaths are reported by the media and we may have missed some deaths reported in local media as well. Therefore, our numbers are likely an underestimate of the total deaths caused by the lockdown at the ground level.
It's possible that some may feel that these deaths can't be classified as related to the lockdown. Similarly, it is not our argument that each of the incidents recorded is accurate and the cause of the deaths have been established in such reports beyond reasonable doubt. That's why the database and the classification are public. People can judge and decide for themselves.
7. How do we check for duplicates?
When we consider a link, we read the article - assess the details, compare the same against the information we have using the name, occupation, location, date of incident, and other relevant particulars. There are usually two people who check every link - once at the time of tracking, and once at the time of entering.
As for aggregators, we use the place of the incident, names, and other details to check whether a death has been counted or not. We first try and locate a news report that has the individual incident using descriptions of location. If that's not possible, we make sure that we add every identity detail of that death. To give an example, this report says 18 migrants were killed. Instead of putting 18 directly in our database, we have put each incident separately using separate links and descriptions of each case.
8. How could you check if you suspect that the information is appearing more than once?
We have a search button on the right hand corner of the data tables where one could search using particulars. If you feel the link/name/incident is repeated - you can just type on the search box and the list of incidents with the same particulars will appear. In most cases, you will realise that the incident will be different. However, if you feel that the incident is not clear - you may reach out to us for more clarity or to report the duplicated entry if you are certain about the same.
9. Under what license is this data distributed?
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0). Data is available in open format on DataMeet.
10. What are these "Shramik Train Deaths" and "Quarantine centre deaths"?
We decided to have a separate category seeing the alarming rise in these deaths. So irrespective of the reason of the death (which is unclear in many occasions due to the limitation of reporting) we felt the need to carve out two new categories. In both categories, considering the kind of deaths being reported and the circumstances around it, there is a strong indication of the failure of the state machinery to provide adequate support (such as lack of food, water and proper conditions in long journeys on train; and unsecure, unhygienic conditions at the quarantine centres).
11. How can one reach us?
If you have any queries, feel free to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on twitter @_kanika_s; @CB_Aman; and @thej.