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Tuesday, Sep 24, 2019

Trainer made horse go fast, my child was thrown off: Father of 6-year-old Mumbai girl who died

A helmet could have saved my daughter, says Girgaum-based businessman, who blames the horse trainer for the fatal accident at Cooperage garden

mumbai Updated: Nov 07, 2017 14:53 IST
Megha Sood
Megha Sood
Hindustan Times
Janhavi Mistry was killed in a horse-riding accident at Cooperage garden on Sunday evening.
Janhavi Mistry was killed in a horse-riding accident at Cooperage garden on Sunday evening.(HT)

“A helmet could have saved her life,” said 45-year-old Mahendra Mistry, weeping over the loss of his only daughter, who was killed in a horse-riding accident at Cooperage garden on Sunday evening.

In his statement to the Colaba police on Monday, Mahendra said six-year-old Janhavi had not fallen from the horse, but was thrown off after the animal’s trainer coaxed it to go faster. He said the horse had slipped on the cement path.

“We have been going to Cooperage for years. The garden was concretised just two months ago,” he said.

Police arrested trainer Soham Jaiswal, 30, on Sunday night under section 304 (2) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

Mahendra, who owns a furniture making company, said he took his wife Manju, nephew, Parth, and Janhavi for an outing on Sunday evening, as was the family’s custom.

He said they left their Jayant Heritage house in Khotachiwadi in Girgaum at 4 pm and went to Nariman Point.

“Janhavi began insisting on a horse ride. Since there were none at Nariman Point, we went to Cooperage. I dropped my wife and kids off at the garden and drove ahead in search of a parking spot. A few minutes later, my wife called me in tears. She said Janhavi’s head was bleeding,” said Mahendra.

Manju said she told Janhavi to ride a pony, but the girl insisted on an adult horse.

“I gave in to her demand and made her sit on the adult horse. The ride began while I was occupied with helping Parth sit on another horse. Within seconds, the trainer came running over with Janhavi in his arms. Her dress was covered in blood and her head was severely injured,” said Manju.

She said she did not know whether Soham was leading the horse by its halter or if he tried to save Janhavi after it slipped.

Janhavi’s parents took her to Bombay Hospital, where she was declared brain dead. She died a few hours later, following which her body was sent to St George Hospital for a post mortem

“Trainers should take precautions. They should make children wear helmets and ensure that the horse does not speed up. This will ensure that others do not lose their children,” said Mahendra.

He said he would leave for his village after performing Janhavi’s last rites.

Manoj Kumar Sharma, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 1) said horse carriages are banned at Nariman Point and Marine Drive, but horse rides have been common at Cooperage garden for the past 25 years. He added that trainers do not follow any specific rules or regulations. “We are now making it compulsory for children to wear helmets. We will ensure that trainers follow safety norms,” added Sharma.

First Published: Nov 07, 2017 13:41 IST