Two days after they went missing from their homes on Sunday, two boys were found dead in an abandoned well in Nandambakkam on Tuesday afternoon.
While relatives and neighbours allege foul play, the police have ruled it out.
However, they could conclude the cause of death only after they received the post-mortem report on Wednesday, the police said.
Lathif (8), son of Fayaz and Malathi of Roja Thottam in Irumbuliyur, Tambaram, had come to his grandmother’s (Malathi’s mother) house on Kuthalamman Koil Main Street in Thulasingapuram, Nandambakkam, before Pongal for the holidays. He established a friendship with Balaji (8), son of neighbours, C. Dhanasekar and Devi.
The two boys went missing shortly after lunch on Sunday. At 3 p.m., Lathif’s close relatives launched a search for him and also informed the Nandambakkam police station. As the boys did not return until late on Sunday evening, residents of the locality joined the search which continued through Monday and resumed on Tuesday morning.
A little past noon on Tuesday, a group of people at the Amman ‘puththu’ temple in the locality, noticed the bodies of the boys floating in the well nearby and called for help. As news spread, anxious residents flocked to the well. Noticing the commotion, personnel from the Nandambakkam police station reached the spot.
An ambulance was called to the spot and its crew, along with the help of residents, pulled out the bodies of the boys which were then shifted to the Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital in Chromepet, where the post-mortem examination would be performed on Wednesday.
P. Saravanan, deputy commissioner of police, St. Thomas Mount, said preliminary investigations revealed that there were no visible external injuries.
Thorough probe sought
Relatives and neighbours of the boys have sought a thorough probe to establish the cause of death and bring to justice those responsible for their deaths.
“It is very clear that it is neither a natural nor an accidental death. No one from our locality, even elders go near the spot, except while offering prayers at the temple, that too very rarely,” said Saravanan, a young auto driver, who was among those who pulled out the bodies of Lathif and Balaji.
Malathi, mother of Lathif, sought justice and said those responsible for the death of her son should be arrested.
“My son is afraid of water. It is impossible that he will go anywhere near a deep well,” said Balaji’s father, Dhanasekar, a gardener.
Residents of Kuthalamman said the two boys were last seen on Sunday along with Sumathi, sister of Malathi.
Dhanasekar, too, told reporters that it was Sumathi who took Balaji from his home, enticing him by promising to get him balloons. Sumathi, according to the residents, was mentally unstable.
Mohanram, one of the men who pulled out the boys, said the quality of basic amenities in Thulasingapuram, coming under Ward No. 158 of the Chennai Corporation was pathetic. The incident could have been avoided had the well been covered, he said. The well was surrounded by thick vegetation and a huge peepul tree had grown out of it.