Every morning, two-year-old Shreshti would wake up at 5 am, 30 minutes before her elder sister. Shreshti would mimic her elder sister’s routine, and often cry for a school uniform just like hers. “My daughter wanted to go to school,” said Anirudh Pratap Singh, the girl’s father.
On Tuesday morning, after a lot of convincing, Shresthi was allowed to accompany her elder sister, who is in Class I, till the school. “She was very happy. Shreshti kept chatting the entire way. We dropped off her sister inside the school,” Singh said.
A short while later, as Anirudh was selling vegetables outside, his daughter — who would have celebrated her birthday in five days — vanished. “I still do not know how she died — whether she was playing near the open drain or if she fell face down. I have still not told our elder daughter, Garima, about what happened,” he said.
The open drain is cleaned around 8 am every day, locals claimed. “A team of safai karamcharis cleans the drain. There are several openings that are covered with slabs, but a few are covered with stones,” said Suraj, a local.
East Delhi mayor Neema Bhagat said that incident has been brought to her knowledge and she will find out the officials responsible and take action accordingly. “It is the duty of the official who was getting the cleaning work done to ensure that it (the drain) is covered after the work has been completed. Whoever is responsible will not be spared; strict action will be taken against him,” she said.