Bhajanpura collapse: He wanted to join army, we draped his body in military fatigue, says 11-year-old’s family
Eleven-year-old Dishu Khushwaha had bought a new ‘Army uniform’, complete with a cap and boots, and even rehearsed in it for Republic Day celebrations at school on Sunday. His parents were also excited to watch him perform in it. Little did they know what fate had in store for them.
Dishu was among the four children who were killed on Saturday evening when the portion of a three-storey building collapsed in Bhajanpura. A tuition centre was being run from the building. A teacher was also among those killed.
“My son wanted to join the defence forces. Since we won’t see his dreams getting fulfilled, we put the same army fatigues on him for cremation. He was a very bright child, always got full marks in his exams. Always smiling, he was a favourite among his classmates and teachers,” Mahipal Singh Khushwaha, his father and a garments retailer, said.
“Before leaving for the tuition classes, he had playfully given me a salute, saying he was going to fight on the border. We never knew it was his last salute,” said Sangeeta Khushwaha, Dishu’s mother.
Like Dishu, 10-year-old Kirti Tyagi, who died in the collapse, too had prepared for the Republic Day celebrations and was excited about the dance event in which she had to participate.
At Kirti’s home in Gali Number 17, Subhash Vihar, her father Vicky Tyagi kept staring at the small sequined lehenga (skirt) in which she was supposed to dance at her Republic Day function in school on Sunday. “We got this especially made for her R-Day function. Her mother got it from the tailor just on Saturday morning. My daughter had told her aunt to shoot her dance videos,” he said.
Subhash Mohalla and adjoining areas where the victims lived wore a sombre look as the bodies of four children were taken to different cremation and burial grounds for the last rites on Sunday.
The remains of Farhan Sultan, 6, was taken to the ITO burial ground, while those of Dishu, Kirti Tyagi (10) and Prakash Chand alias Krishna (9) were taken to a cremation ground in Maujpur. At least six other children -- Uma Bharti (6), Bushra Parveen (11), Sidra Parveen (9), Aarti (9), Saurabh (9) and Nitin (12) -- who were in the same tuition centre when the accident took place, lay in nursing homes in the colony with fractures, bruises and other injuries.
Savitri Devi, the maternal aunt of Krishna, who succumbed to his injuries at the nearby Jag Parvesh Chander Hospital on Saturday, said, “How could the children have survived? Huge iron girder, chunks of concrete and a 1000-litre overhead water tank fell on them.” As per police and eyewitnesses, the terrace of the three-storeyed tuition centre came down on the children. Construction of a fourth floor was going on there.
“We are lower middle-class people. Krishna’s parents sent him to a private school despite financial hardships,” Savitri said.
The tuition centre, ‘Educational Point’, was a popular coaching centre in the neighbourhood with students coming from areas within a radius of a kilometre. “Since the number of students was increasing and there were not enough space on the first and second floors to accommodate them, the owners of the coaching centre were constructing classrooms on the third floor,” said Shikha Tiwari, whose sister and seven other children, including Krishna, living in her building studied in the coaching centre.