Two-and-a-half year old Dev’s constant craving for milk had always forced his mother Pinki to step outside her house and satisfy her son’s demands from a nearby dairy shop.
On Tuesday evening, the shop’s closure led to a series of unfortunate events resulting in tragedy.
At about 4 pm that day, Pinki, along with her son in her arms, walked into the congested Trilokpuri marketplace in east Delhi, a place she had never liked.
Pinki could not walk on the footpath that was always occupied by hawkers. Moments later, an electric rickshaw butted her from behind, causing her son to fall off her arms and into a vat of boiling sugar syrup used for jalebis.
Spectators remained mute, Pinki later claimed, as she plunged her arms into the hot liquid in an effort to save her son.
The rickshaw driver had fled the scene by then, leaving behind his vehicle.
Pinki suffered severe burns on her arms but could not save Dev.”My son would have been alive had I not succumbed to his continuous insistence for milk. I wanted to take him to his father who worked in a shop on the same lane,” Pinki said.
“Since the narrow road in our local market is always overcrowded and jam-packed with vehicles, I always avoided going there. But on Tuesday, I broke my own rule and paid for it by losing my son,” Pinki told Hindustan Times.
For Dev’s father Chattar Singh, it was a double tragedy. His elder son Saurabh is plagued by a crippling liver disease since he was born.” [Saurabh] cannot stand or sit on his own. He is bed-ridden. Dev was our only hope for us. Now that he is dead, everything is finished,” said Singh.
Police officials investigating the case said the sweet shop owner had encroached upon footpath space by keeping his stove and cooking vat on it.
All his employees, Pinki claimed, turned a blind eye to the accident.
They have shut shop and disappeared from the scene.
On Wednesday, Dev’s family members and neighbours staged a protest outside the Mayur Vihar police station demanding justice.
Police claim a case had been registered against the negligent rickshaw driver and
efforts were on to nab him.
Electric rickshaws plying across the city, however, are not registered with the transport department, nor do their drivers have proper licences.
“Through our intelligence network, the accused driver has been identified but is yet to be arrested,” a senior police officer said.