Incensed by the alleged remarks of a local political leader, residents of Gopalpur in north Delhi blocked GT Karnal after four children from their locality drowned in a pit dug allegedly by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
Traffic was disrupted for more than two hours and the police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.
The police said tempers flew when a local leader turned up to meet the parents of the children who had drowned late on Friday night and allegedly said they were destined to die.
The victims — all of them cousins — were part of a joint family. They were identified as Nitesh (7), Atul (9), Vikas (10) and Narendra (11).
“Their fathers are brothers... they all live in the same area and own chole-bhature carts in different areas of the city,” said a senior police officer.
The police was compelled to use force to disperse the crowd at GT Karnal Road in Timarpur area. “Many women were injured. They (proesters) wanted action to be taken against the Delhi Jal Board (DJB),” the officer added.
The family members of the victims also protested and pelted stones at the police.
“They killed my son. Time and again we told them to fill up the ditch the DJB had dug. But no one listened to us. Now we have lost our sons,” said Budhpal, father of Atul and Nitesh. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said a probe would be constituted to find out the reasons behind the deaths.
Dikshit who is also chairperson of the DJB announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 1 lakh as relief for the kins of each victim of the mishap.
The DJB has instituted an enquiry it will submit its report by Wednesday.