A political row has erupted over the death of a six-month-old girl during the Railways demolition drive at Shakurbasti Cement Siding, Delhi with the AAP government blaming the tragedy on the demolition. However, the sequence of events leading to the tragedy suggest that the girl died before the demolition work began. Sources said, Rukaiya Khatoon, the youngest of three children, died at least three hours before demolition work began after being buried under the heap of clothes inside her house.
According to the post mortem report from Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where the girl had been declared dead on Sunday, death was due to shock as result of chest and head injury by blunt force impact. All injuries are ante-mortem in nature and possible in manner as alleged. As per the post mortem report the deceased was taken to SGM Hospital at 11.35am where she was declared dead. According to a railway release, the ‘police clearance to commence the encroachment removal activity was given at 11.50 am, therefore the death of the child has no connection with the activity of encroachment removal which started at about 12.00 hours and concluded at 6pm.’
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu also said on Monday in Parliament that the 6-month-old girl died before the Delhi slum demolition began.
According to police sources, the girl was asleep on the bed inside shanty umber 488 located at the end of the JJ cluster. At about 8 am on Sunday, the residents were informed of the proposed demolition drive. The railway officials pasted notices on walls of some shanties as well, sources said.
The girl’s parents claimed that they left their daughter asleep inside the house and went outside to talk with the neighbours about the demolition drive. When they returned at about 9.15 am, they found their daughter under a heap of clothes which had been kept on a wooden table. The heap of clothes had apparently fallen on her.
The girl was unconscious and there were bruises on her face. Her father Mohammad Anwar immediately rushed her to Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital at Pitampura where doctors declared her dead. By this time, the railway officials had arrived at the JJ cluster.
Sources said, when the girl’s father returned with his daughter’s body at approximately 10.30 am, the railway officials were briefing residents about the demolition and working out how to conduct it, said a resident.
At 10.38 am a neighbor made a PCR call was made about the death of a girl from the juggi. A PCR van reached the spot, took the girl’s body to Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital at 11 am and a post mortem examination was conducted on her between 2 pm and 3 pm, said the sources.
Sources said the demolition began at 11.50 am and went till 7 pm. During the demolition the shanty number 488 was demolished at about 4 pm, as it was located close to the railway track.
8 am – Railway officials reached JJ cluster
8.15am – Briefed the residents and pasted notices of the demolition
9.15 am – Girl’s parents spotted her lying below a heap of clothes
10 am- Doctors at Mahavir Hospital declared her dead
10.30 am- Father returned home with his daughter
10.38 am- Neighbour makes PCR call from JJ cluster about the girl’s death
11am – Girl’s body was taken to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital
11.50 am- Demolition started
7 pm- Demolition ended