An eight-year-old boy, who went to see a Saraswati immersion procession in south west Delhi’s village Kakrola’s Raju Extension, was crushed to death by a tempo carrying the idol on Thursday, while his 14-year-old sister witnessed the incident.
Ankush Kumar, a Class 1 student at MBD Arya Model School, was on his way back from the market when he heard the songs playing on the speaker. He rushed towards the park in Bharat Vihar, where a procession of over 30 people was celebrating Saraswati idol immersion. His elder sister, Aarti, tried to stop him as it was 9pm and he had to get up in time for school the next day. Realising that he won’t stop, she raced towards him.
Ankush pushed through the crowd to stand alongside the park railing. Suddenly, the tempo reversed and hit Ankush.
The impact was such that the boy was crushed to death on the spot. A song kept blaring from the loudspeaker and it took some time for the crowd to realise what had happened.
Aarti, who witnessed the accident, said that the onlookers watched mutely for a whole minute until a man came forward, stopped the music and told her to inform her parents.
Sister breaks the news
Aarti’s mother, Usha Devi, and three other neighbours were at the doorstep, when Aarti arrived. After a neighbor asked about Ankush’s whereabouts, Aarti broke down and screamed, “Gaadi wale ne mere bhai ko maar daala (A tempo driver has killed my brother).”
Devi, a factory worker, did not believe it at first, nor did her husband Kishore Poddar, who is a driver.
Ankush had eaten paratha and kheer (his favourite sweet dish) around 7pm. Later, both children had gone to a local market to buy a notebook. It was on their way back from the market that the incident happened.
Devi had finished cooking rice and dal for her children and husband, when Aarti informed her about Ankush’s death. When HT visited the family on Friday, the food was lying in the kitchen untouched.
“He did not like to study. But he always did his homework on time and kept his school bag in order. After returning from school on Thursday, Ankush realised that his note book for Environment Studies was nearly over and he had to buy a new one,” Aarti said.
Anksuh loved to dance
Deepak Kumar, Ankush’s friend, said that the latter liked to participate in celebrations, especially weddings and processions, where he got to dance and enjoy.
“Ankush had gone to a neighbour’s wedding on February 1. That was the last time I saw him dance to his heart’s content. The night he was killed, Ankush must have got excited and followed the Saraswati immersion procession. There was no way he could have been stopped,” Deepak said.
After the accident, the tempo driver had fled from the spot with the vehicle. A case was registered at Dwarka North police station. Eyewitnesses told police that the tempo was orange in colour and had the Saraswati idol in it.
“We began scanning the CCTV footages of the area. Constables on patrolling duty were given description of the tempo. The vehicle was finally spotted on Old Palam road. The driver was held and identified as Hari Prasad. Further investigation is underway,” said a senior police officer.