Tension Prevailed in Southwest Delhi’s Kapashera area Thursday after the family of five-year-old Ankit, who fell and drowned in his school’s septic tank, staged a sit-in near their house after they were not allowed to bring the body home.
On Wednesday, Ankit had fallen into the uncovered septic tank at his MCD school and drowned.
Ankit’s uncle Suresh Singh said, “The police did not want to hand over the body to us. Instead, they asked us to come directly to the cremation ground. We protested near our house and the police lathicharged us. Some of us were injured, including my son.” The body was later cremated in the evening.
The police said this was done as a precautionary measure and rubbished the lathicharge claims. “There were some anti-social elements near their house and we wanted to avoid any trouble. Also, the child’s mother was not well and bringing the body home would have caused more problems,” said DCP(Southwest) R A Sanjeev.
He added that they were yet to receive a report from the municipal corporation to press charges against any particular person. But a case has been registered at Kapashera police station.
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The family members had alleged that Ankit fell into the tank sometime after lunch, but the teachers took time to get him out.
Ankit’s mother Poonam Devi said the school had called her at about 11.45 am on Wednesday to say her son had been hurt.
She recounted, “The school said my son had hurt his head and has been admitted to a hospital. They asked me to come to the school, but they did not tell me anything till classes ended,” she said.
She added that some of her relatives, who worked in the school, told her what had happened. “It is the school’s fault. They should take responsibility,” she said, adding that she wasn’t keen on sending her son to the school initially.
“In July, some MCD teachers visited our house and asked us to admit him.”
Meanwhile, school principal Rekha Kakkad did not comment on why the tank was uncovered.
While some teachers said the cover was removed by a student while playing, a source in the South Municipal Corporation said the cover was broken. “The school repaired the cover and replaced it on the tank. An inquiry is on and reports will be out soon,” said the source.
The Indian Express visited the school and found there were five toilets for the 900-odd students per shift. The school runs in two shifts — one for boys and the other for girls. The tank is located beside the toilet with the play area only few metres away.
Construction is also underway at the school to expand the premises. One of the workers said, “The cover was opened because a sewage pipe had to be inserted.”