Three months before he died while cleaning a sewer in Dwarka’s Dabri area, 37-year-old Anil had sustained a foot injury while cleaning a sewer in the same area, rendering him jobless. “A nail pierced through his foot and he couldn’t walk. That’s when I began ragpicking. The same job that injured him has now killed him,” said his partner Rani.
Anil died on Friday, after a rope around his waist snapped, plunging him down the 20-feet sewer. Four days later, Rani sat in her cramped room, with her three children, and an array of donations — a cycle, ration, stationery and clothes. “I have been told that money has been donated by strangers and it’s in my bank account. I am yet to check. I want to buy a house far away from here, because this room haunts me,” she said.
Police have said the accused contractor is absconding. The parents of the dead were, meanwhile, called by police and asked for his caste certificate to ascertain if sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act could be applied. “The documents were examined and we found he belonged to the OBC category. They were also questioned to ascertain if other men helped recruit him,” said DCP (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse.
Just a week ago, Anil and Rani — who were set to get married soon — had lost their four-month-old child to pneumonia. Rani, meanwhile, alleged that Anil’s parents had assaulted her on Monday night. “They came and beat me up, saying I was a bad omen. We were to get married on Monday. I haven’t filed a complaint against them, as there are other important things to do,” she said.