A three-year-old girl drowned in an underground water tank outside her neighbour’s home in south Delhi’s Sangam Vihar on Sunday afternoon.
The neighbour had allegedly left the four feet-deep water tank open for a few minutes after drawing two buckets of water from it. A case of causing death by negligence has been registered and investigations taken up, said Romil Baaniya, DCP (South-East).
The girl, Alfia, lived with her parents in west Delhi’s Madipur. Her father, Asif, works at a factory here. The family was on a visit to Alfia’s grandparents’ home in JJ Colony in Sangam Vihar as she had been blessed with a baby brother just 10 days back.
Alfia had left her home around 1.15pm on Sunday to play hide-and-seek with her three friends from the neighbourhood. As the game progressed, Alfia was separated from her friends who initially thought she may have returned home.
But when they went to her house to look for her, Alfia’s parents realised something was amiss. They launched a search in the neighbourhood but were unable to trace her.
“Just when we thought of visiting the police fearing that she was kidnapped, one of our neighbours suspected that it was possible she fell in one of the underground water tanks outside our homes,” said Alfia’s maternal uncle, Farhan.
Since these localities in south Delhi face water problems, most of the residents have dug up four feet-deep underground water tanks outside their homes to store water to deal with shortage.
“One by one, we checked whether all the tanks were covered or not. Finally, around an hour later and two houses away from ours, we spotted a tank that did not have a lid. We peeped into it to find Alfia’s body floating in the tank,” said Armaan.
The child was fished out and rushed to Batra Hospital nearby even as the police were informed. But when the child was declared brought dead, her body was taken to AIIMS for post-mortem.
The police, in their probe, found that the neighbor had drawn two buckets of water from the tank just minutes before the accident. Thinking that she would return to the tank to draw more water, the neighbor had allegedly not covered the tank.
“The tank was more than three-fourth full at the time of the accident. Neighbours have said they did not hear any sound of either the fall or the child shouting for help,” said a senior police officer.