Rekha, the Dalit woman who suffered burn injuries when her home was torched in Sunpedh, a village in Faridabad near Delhi, regained consciousness on Wednesday — only to be told that both her children were dead.
Those present with her at Safdarjung Hospital said Rekha, 23, who sustained 30 per cent burns on her face, neck and upper body, wept quietly the entire evening.
“Some women relatives met her for a few minutes, but since then, she has been lying listless, weeping silently. When nurses try to console her, she only repeats her children’s names,” said a source. “She is in a lot of pain… her lower face, including her lips and cheeks, neck, chest and abdomen, has around 30 per cent thermal burns. Despite the painkillers, opening her mouth to speak is very painful,” the source said.
Her husband Jitender, who sustained burns on his palms and was discharged Tuesday, has not met her so far.
Sources said Rekha had been sedated and kept on a heavy dose of painkillers since Tuesday, as doctors started heavy injectible antibiotics to control the spread of infection in her body, common in thermal burns. She slept through the day Tuesday, occasionally crying out in pain.
“She has around 30 per cent thermal burns concentrated on her lower face, breasts, neck and back. Her condition is still critical but stable,” a hospital spokesperson said. Sources said once her condition improves, she will be counselled by a psychiatrist.
According to sources, when she was asked on Wednesday if she wanted to speak to authorities, Rekha “nodded vigorously”.
“It hurts her to speak but on Wednesday, around 5 pm, her statement was recorded before a magistrate and the police. We have had to increase her painkillers after this. Her sedation has also been increased to help her relax,” a hospital source said.
Shiv Kumar, Rekha’s brother-in-law, said it is better she learnt about the children’s death “sooner rather than later”. “A mother deserves to know. We waited all day at the hospital to meet her on Tuesday. A mother deserves to know before her children’s funeral is held,” Kumar said.
Vaibhav, 3, and nine-month-old Divya were rushed to Safdarjung Hospital around 3.30 am Tuesday. Doctors at the hospital said the children, who suffered 60-70 percent thermal burns, were declared dead on the spot. “It is likely that the inflammatory object hit the area where the children were located because they were completely charred. In such young children, maintaining hydration and controlling infection with such grave burns is extremely difficult,” a doctor said.