A pink-colored bag of four-year-old Syeda Fatima Jaffri stuck between the elevator and the first floor was all that D Tirupati, Fire Officer of Malakpet Fire Station, saw when he rushed to Sri Chaitanya’s Star Kids School, a play school, near Moosarambagh in Dilsukhnagar area on Tuesday morning after receiving an emergency call.
“Then I saw the school dress and the little kid stuck between the elevator and the wall. It was a shocking and distressing sight. I asked someone to switch on the elevator and moved it up and retrieved the lifeless body. When police arrived, we left because it was too heart-wrenching,” Tirupati said. The sight of Syeda’s blood-splattered identity card that she held on to made even the cops emotional.
How Syeda Fatima Jaffri got stuck under the elevator is still a mystery but police found that the inside grill door of the elevator was not working and it was being operated dangerously with only the outside grill door. There is neither CCTV footage or witnesses to the incident. Some of Syeda’s classmates were also waiting for the elevator along side her but they are all three and four-year-olds whom police cannot question.
Malakpet Police officials who questioned school authorities say that after the school assembly the students stated going to their classes using the elevator and Syeda also got into the elevator on ground floor.
“They say that there was a power failure for a few moments during which the elevator stopped between the ground and first. The power was restored within a few moments and the elevator started moving up but somehow Syeda’s head or her school bag got stuck between the elevator and the first floor and she got trapped and crushed. School authorities are not forthcoming right now but they are maintaining that a teacher always accompanies the kids inthe elevator. We have registered a case of death due to negligence against the school authorities. The investigation is on,” Sub-Inspector L Ramesh said.
What happened after that is even more shocking. One parent, Mustafa Shaikh, who had come to drop his child said: “The kids who were in the elevator started screaming and I rushed in to check what happened and found this little girl with her head stuck between the elevator and the first floor. I tried to help her but it was not possible and when I looked around, none of the school authorities, not even an attendant or peon, were to be seen. I retrieved Syeda’s ID card which had a number and I called her mother. I also called police and fire officials,” says Shaikh. Syeda Fatima is the only child of Ijaz Hussain and Tehseen Fatima. Ijaz Hussain is a sales manager with an electronics MNC in Dubai. He arrived at 3:30 pm.
The school authorities later on declared a holiday for the rest of the day and sent all the kids home and blocked any inquiries by worried parents, police and media. The School Coordinator K Shobha switched off her phone and no other official was available.
A large number of people including parents, relatives and their friends gathered at the school and staged a protest accusing the school management of negligence.