The family of the three children who allegedly drowned to their death in a plastic drum on a vacant plot in Tulsi Niketan locality of Sahibabad on Monday evening have alleged foul play in the incident.
The bodies of the three children were found lying headfirst inside the plastic drum. They were spotted by an old woman who had gone to the spot to fetch water.
The police claimed that the children stepped on a bucket and fell inside the drum one by one. However, the families of the deceased are not buying the police theory.
Tarana Khatoon, the mother of five-year-old deceased Salma, said that both her daughters had left home for tuition on Monday afternoon but Salma did not reach the class. “When I inquired with the teacher, she said only one girl had come to the class. I searched everywhere and then went to the police post to inform the police. They noted my brother’s phone number since I don’t have one,” she said.
“Then, someone called my brother and said that the children were with him and asked him to pick them up from ‘MK’ (a nearby hotel). We heard children crying. We tried calling him up later but he rebuked us and then switched off the phone,” she said.
Besides Salma, the two other children who died were identified as Nimai and Azan, aged one-and-a-half years and four years, respectively. Both the families are related and live in a close-knit society.
“We gave police the mobile number (of the caller) so that they could find out about the person who called my number, but there is no response from the police yet. We suspect foul play in the incident. Why would three of them go to a far-off vacant plot for a bath? We did not give any written application to the police after the incident as we are not educated,” said Rashid, Tarana’s brother.
On Monday, the police, in their WhatsApp group, had posted a handwritten application that was given to them by the family of the deceased.
A post-mortem examination of the three deceased was conducted on Monday night following the intervention of the administration officials. The police said that the report indicated death due to ante-mortem drowning with no external injury marks. The bodies were buried on Tuesday morning.
“We are analysing the post-mortem reports and have asked officials to conduct an inquiry into the incident. The phone call which the family received will also be checked,” Deepak Kumar, senior superintendent of police, Ghaziabad, said.
The plastic drum in which the children had allegedly drowned had a 200-litre capacity. Officials said that the drum was half full when the bodies were recovered.