A 10-year-old boy died after he fell into a 10-feet deep ditch filled with rainwater in north Delhi’s Burari area on Wednesday night.
Police said Justin Mesih, a resident of Baba Colony, was playing with his friends when he saw a kite landing at a vacant plot and rushed to grab it.
Local residents said the Delhi Jal Board dug up the pit to store rainwater. But jal board officials said they had transferred the land a year ago to power discom NDPL for setting up a power sub station.
“The child was playing in the area when he slipped into the ditch,” a senior police officer said.
“When he did not return home till late evening, his parents started searching for him. When they could not find him, they came to us with a complaint. We launched a search,” the officer said.
Residents said the DJB did not put barricades or signage at the site to keep the people away from the pit. “We had pointed it out in the RWA meetings but no one took notice. There were no barricades, no signages. Kids play in this area and it left them prone to accidents. Who is responsible for this loss?” a local said.
Mesih’s friends told the police and his parents that they had last seen him rushing towards the plot to grab a kite. “They said they saw him going towards the plot but since he did not return, they assumed that he went home. So, we went to the plot to check,” the officer said.
Pramod, who lives near the pit, said the police waited for the fire brigade team and divers to reach the spot but some local residents jumped inside the water to search for the boy.
“We asked the police to help but they said that they will have to wait for the professional divers,” Pramod said.
“One of the locals, who is also a diver, went deep found the body. It was very dark so we all went there with torch lights. He swam inside the deep ditch for over 15 minutes and found the body. We took the body out,” he said.
The police have registered a case of negligence against unknown persons and launched an inquiry.
“We will see which agency, the DJB or NDPL, is responsible for the incident. We have sent the body for a postmortem examination to ascertain the cause of death. We will arrest people who are responsible,” a senior police officer said.
Mesih’s father works as a manager at a restaurant in Netaji Subhash Place.