Sangeeta collapsed when she saw the body of her only daughter Kanchan. On Wednesday morning when she left home for work, it was the last time she saw her seven-year-old “darling” playing. Kanchan along with four other children was crushed to death when the wall of a compound that encircles their homes collapsed on them while they were playing in the morning. The tragedy, which also saw one child getting critically injured, happened in Dallupura village in East Delhi.
“Why did I go to work today? I would have managed to save my daughter had I been present here. I would never be able to forgive myself. How could I leave my daughter alone?” wailed Sangeeta, who works as a maid in the nearby houses in Dallupura.
The room she stays in is one of the 28 rooms built within the same compound accommodating mostly the families of migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Sangeeta has been staying in that one-room accommodation along with five other people of her family since the past one year when her husband, Manoj, came from the Nawada district of Bihar looking for work.
“I will not stay here now. I cannot stay in a house which killed my daughter,” she said, holding her seven-month-old son close to her chest.
Mithilesh, the mother who lost her two children, couldn’t stop blaming herself as she had not gone very far from her one room-accommodation in the compound. “I was here only a few minutes before this thing happened. I had never imagined the place where I live will kill my two children,” she said crying and wailing. Minutes later she fell unconscious looking at the bodies of her children.
The neighbours who joined the bereaved families blamed the owner Vijender alleging that he was there when the wall collapsed, but ran away leaving the children under the debris. Some of them demanded compensation for the deaths.
Kusum who used to stay in the compound alleged that the owner of the compound locks up the rooms in case of even a day’s delay in the payment of rent. “The owner is a very cruel man. I have seen him beating woman for non-payment of rent,” she said.