As four poclains rummaged through the mountains of garbage at the Jawaharnagar dumping yard, rag-picker Shanmuga sat there silently praying that his son is found alive.
His son, Vaasu, along with two others, Khaja, 15, and Mohd. Raheem, 22, got buried alive under the heaps of garbage three days ago. Shanmuga believed that some miracle would bring back his son alive. His hopes were shattered as a poclain operator stumbled upon a severed body.
Families of the three victims ran there to see who it was. Shanmuga collapsed on seeing that the severed body was that of his son, recognising it by the colour of the trousers and innerwear that he last wore.
“Probably, the huge steel hook of the poclain hit the body severing it,” the police said. Vaasu was the only son of Shanmuga. His mother died few years ago. Theirs was one of the nearly 100 rag-picking families living near the yard, picking plastic from garbage and selling it for recycling.
Shanmuga cried inconsolably on seeing his son's body refusing to leave the place till his son's head was found. The police sent him away convincing him that searches in the night would not be helpful. Family members of Raheem and Khaja too underwent equally tense moments as the bodies of their beloved ones could not be traced.
Sania, wife of Raheem, went to Moosarambagh on Monday to see her ailing mother when she learnt that her husband got trapped in the garbage. They got married a year ago. The shell-shocked woman sat at the yard as searches continued for the last two days.
Officials restricted rag-pickers from entering the dumping yard when a rag-picking woman, Nagamma, 42, died after heaps of garbage fell on her 10 days ago. “This meant no work and no food for us. Apparently, my son Khaja was worried about the family's fate and ventured into the yard in the night looking for plastic along with the other two,” Khaja's mother Sabera Begum said. That cost the trio their lives.
Keywords: Urban mishap