Mumbai police has decided to cremate a 16-year-old boy, who was allegedly beaten to death by fellow inmates at a children’s home in the city, after failing to trace his family. The boy’s body has been lying in the mortuary of Sion Hospital for two months now.
“The investigating officer sought permission to cremate his remains. We worked hard to trace his family but couldn’t. I have granted permission to cremate the body,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (Dadar division) Avinash Kanade said.
On August 6, the boy, identified as Haswan Nishad, was found loitering near Girgaon chowpatty by a 48-year-old physical trainer. Nishad was believed to have taken a train from Delhi to Mumbai “to see the city”.
“As the boy appeared lost, the trainer tried to speak to him. When he gave no clear answers, the trainer took him to the beat chowky nearby,” said a police officer, requesting anonymity.
On the suggestion of constables at the chowky, the trainer took the boy to D B Marg police station, where policemen counselled him for over four hours, gave him food and tried to seek details of his family.
Nishad was later taken to the children’s home and sent to its ‘isolation room’ as per Covid-19 quarantine norms. On August 16 evening, the boy defecated inside the ‘isolation’ room. CCTV footage show some inmates tying handkerchiefs around their faces because of the smell. Some of them get aggressive and allegedly beat him up. The boy was rushed to Sion Hospital, where he was declared dead.
Police initially registered a case of accidental death but later, based on CCTV footage, took six inmates into custody charging them with murder. They were later shifted to a remand home.
Following an inquiry by the children’s home, a guard at the ‘isolation’ room was also held responsible and a case of negligence under the Juvenile Justice Act registered against him.
Mumbai police had flashed wireless messages and circulated the boy’s name — along with his photograph and other clues like ‘Paras School’, ‘Bastipada’, ‘Star Chowk’ and a ‘sister named Soni’ which the boy had given them — to police stations across New Delhi and Mumbai, besides neighbouring districts in Maharashtra, but got no response.
“We even sent a team to Delhi to look for his family members. We sought help from local police but as we could not locate his family, the team returned after a few days,” said Kanade.