The boys were playing with a ball near their home when it fell into the water

Playtime spelt unspeakable tragedy for two families as their young sons drowned in an open sump a few yards away from their house in New Binny Layout on Friday.

Bharath (8) was the second child of Ravi, a vegetable vendor in City Market, and Ratna, a garment factory employee. Gagan (6), his cousin, was the only child of Gaviraj, who runs an old paper mart in J.J. Nagar, and Mamata, a homemaker.

Ratna and Mamata are sisters and neighbours.

After school

Bharath and Gagan, studying Class 2 and LKG in a nearby school, returned home in the afternoon around 1.30 p.m. Bharath came home early after an exam. As his parents had gone out to work and his older sister was at school, he came to Gagan’s house and called him out to play.

Police said the boys were playing with a ball when it bounced off and fell into an open sump at a nearby construction site.

Bharath is believed to have slipped into the seven-foot-deep, water-filled sump first and drowned while Gagan who went to help him also died.

Worried mother

Meanwhile, Mamata, Gagan’s mother became worried when the children did not return home even after several hours.

Her frantic search led her to the construction site when she found the children’s clothes bundled near the sump. Fearing the worst, she cried for help. Neighbours who rushed in retrieved the bodies and took them to a nearby hospital.

Case registered

The doctors there referred them to Vani Vilas hospital where they were pronounced dead, Ravi Kumar, and autoriskshaw driver and friend of Bharath’s father, told The Hindu.

The J.J. Nagar police registered a case of negligence against the building owners.

Owners warned

Radhakrishna, the children’s uncle, said residents had warned the owners several times to cover the sump. “But they did not listen to us. Work has been stalled for the past six months and we kept telling them that the open sump was a danger. But we never imagined the tragedy would strike us like this.”

Residents complain

Angry neighbours demanded that the authorities take strict action against the building owners. “We even considered closing the sump ourselves but no one did anything. Each of us waited for the other to do it,” rued a resident.