A 13-year-old boy died after two teenaged paan-sellers allegedly slapped him repeatedly during a scuffle near his home in east Delhi’s New Kondli area on Wednesday evening, police said.
Rajat Menon, a Class 9 student of Salwan Public School in central Delhi, fell unconscious and his assailants apparently took him to two separate hospitals before doctors at Lal Bahadur Shastri hospital declared him dead on arrival.
“It is difficult to say what caused his death. There are no external injuries on the body that would suggest that he was beaten to death,” said a Delhi Police officer, who is investigating the case.
“There were no fatal blows as the trio had a minor scuffle. No weapons were used. We are waiting for the autopsy report.”
Doctors who conducted the postmortem examination apparently told investigators the boy probably died of some internal injury. “The boy’s viscera sample has been preserved,” the officer said.
Police on Thursday arrested the two juvenile paan sellers after going through CCTV footage from two cameras in the area. One of the clips shows the two juveniles assaulting Rajat; another reveals the duo rushing him to hospital.
Rajat was reportedly accosted by the duo — three-four years older than him — on the way to a local pool parlour with his friends. The suspects confronted him regarding a mischief he had committed and this triggered an argument, police said quoting the boy’s friends.
The duo then slapped Rajat a few times and he collapsed. “His friends ran away when the three started fighting. The two juveniles got scared when the boy collapsed and rushed him to a local clinic,” a senior police officer said.
They put him on a scooter and took him to Metro hospital after failing to find a doctor at the clinic.
“But Metro hospital told them to take him to Lal Bahadur Shastri hospital, where they went but it was too late by then. The boy was dead and the duo left the body at the hospital and ran away,” the officer said.
In the meantime, one of Rajat’s friends informed his brother about the scuffle. “When we reached the spot, we were told that the boy has been taken to a hospital. When we reached Lal Bahadur Shastri hospital, we were directed towards the lifeless body of our boy,” a distraught relative said.
A mob gathered after the incident, which threw stones and brickbats at shops selling paan as well as street vendors in the area. The angry people threatened to set the market on fire, prompting police to take pre-emptive action and disperse the crowd.