A windowless room the size of a car was home to 3 Delhi sisters who died of starvation
Three days after the starvation deaths were reported, the father of the girls, a rickshaw puller and a labourer, continues to remain untraceable.Updated: Jul 27, 2018 14:02 IST
A narrow road branches off from the newly built Rs 800-crore Meerut-Delhi expressway leading to a congested neighbourhood known to city residents as Talab Chowk in east Delhi’s Mandawali.
It is a bleak place, dotted with potholed roads, tightly packed houses, with the stench of garbage permeating throughout the neighbourhood.
On Thursday, Talab Chowk shot into the limelight with politicians cutting across party lines making a rush to the place after medical reports confirmed that three minor sisters — Mansi (8), Shikha (4) and Parul (2) — had died in the area due to starvation.
The parents of the children — Mangal Singh and Beena — had moved into their new house, a 7x7 windowless room, on Saturday after their shanty in a nearby slum was destroyed in the rain.
The room has a wooden cot, a chair, handful of utensils and a wall calendar.
Three days after the deaths were reported, the father of the girls, Mangal, a rickshaw puller and a labourer, continues to remain untraceable. His wife Beena, who is mentally unstable, has failed to tell the police how the kids remained deprived of food or where her husband was.
“These rooms are not meant for a family of five. There are at least 10-12 such rooms in the building and around 40 people live here, most of who are labourers, rickshaw pullers or slum dwellers. Beena’s family was very poor,” said Manorama, who lives in a room right in front of Beena’s. “We hardly got to see them in the past three days until the death of her kids came to light. The kids never came out of the room since the family moved in. Beena too would barely speak,” she said.
Rajni, another occupant of the building, said Beena was not in her senses and defecated in her clothes while the police was taking her away on Thursday. “There was no way she was taking good care of her daughters all by herself. We have not seen her husband since Saturday.”
Another resident, Kumar, who lives in the neighbourhood, said a rickshaw puller doesn’t earn more than Rs 300 a day, out of which Rs 150 to Rs 200 was paid as rent of the vehicle.
Mangal and Beena’s new house is a part of a residential cluster, that has come up next to an open patch that is used for defecation and garbage dumping by the locals. The neighbourhood, where autorickshaws or even an e-rickshaw otherwise refuses to ferry you, on Thursday was swarmed by senior police officers and VIPs.
“We have never seen a VIP in our area. Until today, we had only seen them on TV. It is sad that the kids died, but it is equally saddening that the VIPs visit such neighbourhoods only after such a tragedy,” said another resident, who runs a shop next to the building.