Delhi’s 3-year-old boy escapes family’s ‘suicide pact’ as he waited for prasad at neighbour’s house
Three-year-old Rishabh’s refusal to leave his neighbour’s home without partaking ‘prasad’ ended up saving his life on Saturday morning. His parents and sister appear to have killed themselves as part of a ‘suicide pact’ at their home in south Delhi, police officials said.
Police said Rishab’s parents, Vicky and Lalita, along with his six-year-old sister Ranchi, are suspected to have consumed poison over an alleged property dispute on Saturday morning.
In the morning of the apparent suicide, the two children had been at a neighbour’s house to attend a prayer meeting. When Lalita arrived there to fetch the children, Rishabh refused to accompany her as he wanted to eat prasad, according to his uncle, Rakesh.
“Rishabh is unaware of his loss and has been playing with his grandparents. I have two children of my own, but I am willing to bring up Rishabh as my child,” Rakesh said.
Police officials and family members said it appears that Vicky led the suicide pact due to a property dispute with his father.
Born on 25 June, 1983 – the day India won its first cricket World Cup – Vicky was his parents’ favourite child, said Rakesh. However, for the past few years Vicky had been involved in a dispute with his father Kishori Lal over ownership of their six-storey building in Govindpuri, Rakesh said.
A cancer patient, 74-year-old Lal lived with his wife on the ground floor of the house while Vicky occupied the first floor. The top floor was occupied by Vicky’s eldest brother, Rakesh. The third brother, Rajesh, lived elsewhere in the city. The three other floors of the building had been rented out.
In 2016, Vicky allegedly began pestering his father to transfer the ownership of the first and second floors of the building to him. “My father had refused to divide the property until his death. Transferring two floors to Vicky would mean, giving the two other brothers their respective shares as well. That would have left our parents without any property to their name,” said Rakesh, an electrician.
To get Lal to meet their demand, Vicky and Lalita would allegedly often threaten to end their lives, police officials said. Their first suicide attempt was on January 1, 2017 when the couple had to be hospitalised after they consumed some tablets.
Soon after that, Lal approached the senior citizen cell of the Delhi Police blaming his two sons, Vicky and Rakesh, of beating him and threatening to implicate him by leaving behind a suicide note.
On Saturday morning, Vicky allegedly first picked a fight with his mother. “When she refused to give in to his demands, Vicky confronted my father, but he too reiterated his stand. Vicky and his wife then threatened to commit suicide, prompting my father to call the police at 10.10 am,” said Rakesh.
After the dispute, Vicky ran upstairs and Lalita rushed to their neighbour’s home to bring their two children. “Ranchi agreed to accompany her, but Rishabh wouldn’t return home despite his mother’s insistence,” said Rakesh.
By the time police arrived, the three had allegedly consumed poison, most likely in the form of capsules. The couple and their daughter were rushed to different hospitals, but none of them could be saved, said Chinmoy Biswal, deputy commissioner of police (southeast).