Friends and neighbours of the Jaiswal family are horrified by the incident in which two children from Nalasopara were killed by their ‘exorcist’ aunt.
Demanding harsh punishment for their ‘ruthlessness’, most people closely associated with the family said it was hard to believe that they could be involved in such a crime.
Gopal Kungekar, a friend of Dinesh, the youngest son of Sachalal and Sumitra, said the family hardly interacted with anyone. “They often kept to themselves. I would meet Dinesh frequently, but he hardly spoke about his family. In the evening, when there was a power cut, he would sit with his two brothers at a tea stall,” said Kungekar, a resident of Sai Sawli building where the Jaiswal family stayed.
Aiyaz Shaikh, another resident, said the family members appeared to be very simple and serene. “If the members of the family can be so ruthless to take the lives of two children who had not even seen the world, then they should be given strictest punishment. Especially the parents of the two children,” Shaikh said.
Om, 5, and Ritika, 2, were strangulated to death while allegedly being exorcised by their aunt Dolly. She claimed that the children were possessed by an evil spirit and died while being relieved.
Parents of the children Vishal, 35, and Anita, 25; grandparents Sachalal, 65, and Sumita, 60; uncles Satish, 25, and Dinesh, 22, and, aunt Dolly, 20, were arrested in the case.
The family allegedly tried to mislead the police by saying that the children had fallen unconscious while playing garba. However, the injuries found on both children’s bodies suggested otherwise.
Om had a bleeding nose, his mouth was half open and there were black mark on his lower lip, right side of the chin, chest and waist.
He also had injuries on the neck and chest. White liquid was oozing out from Ritika’s nostrils and mouth. Both children were covered in gulaal.
S Koregaonkar, inspector, Nalasopara police station said: “One of the paternal uncles of the deceased, Sanjay Jaiswal, fled from the spot. We are trying to track him down.”