Vasant Kunj dog attacks: post-mortem confirms minors died of canine bites

March 31, 2023 01:20 am | Updated 01:20 am IST - NEW DELHI

Every day, I think only about my children, said Sushma, who came to Delhi to give her children a better life.

Every day, I think only about my children, said Sushma, who came to Delhi to give her children a better life. | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

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The post-mortem findings of two siblings, aged 7 and 5, who died in Vasant Kunj earlier this month after what is believed to have been stray dog attacks, reveal that multiple canine bites to their neck, head and spine were the primary causes of shock and haemorrhage, which led to their deaths.

The Hindu has copies of the reports.

Some social media posts in the wake of the deaths had ascribed them to other reasons.

Both Anand, 7, who died on March 10, and Aditya, 5, who died on March 12, were killed by stray dogs in a forest close to their slum cluster in Rangpuri Pahari Basti.

Their mother, Sushma, who had moved to Delhi eight months ago from a village in Prayagraj to give her children a better life, relives her trauma whenever she hears dogs barking.

“Every day, I think only about my children,” Ms. Sushma says, sitting outside her home — a one-room tin shed. Her hands shake each time she reaches out to hold something.

Family members say Ms. Sushma has slipped into depression and quit her job at a beauty parlour after the incident. Her job was the only source of income for her family, with her husband, who lives in Prayagraj, being mentally challenged.

She is now finding it hard to bear the expenses of her nine-year-old son Ansh, who suffers from an intestinal infection.

More attacks

Nearly three weeks after the tragedy, a wave of fear has gripped Rangpuri Pahari Basti, with close to 50 dogs caught by the municipality following the uproar over the siblings’ deaths being released back into the forest area. Residents say a six-year-old girl, Mahi, was bitten by a dog here on March 26, a day after the dogs were brought back.

Mahi’s mother, Meenakshi, told The Hindu that her child was attacked by dogs when she went to relieve herself in the jungle behind their slum cluster.

However, she says Mahi perhaps didn’t meet the same fate as the deceased siblings as she was accompanied by an elder cousin who threw a bottle at the dogs, pushing them back.

“These dogs should be taken away from this place. We are poor people. We can’t even afford to get our children treated for dog bites,” said Ms. Meenakshi, pointing towards the wounds on her daughter’s back.

She added that she had to borrow money to get Mahi an anti-rabies injection.

Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) director for press and information Amit Kumar said 50 dogs were taken from the area within 72 hours of the reports of the siblings’ deaths. “The dogs were kept under observation for 10 days. Around 90% of the dogs were found to be sterilised; the rest were sterilised during this period. All dogs, except one found to be ill, were released back at the same spot,” he said.

Mahi’s neighbour Renu expressed anguish with the civic body’s decision to release all the dogs at the same spot. With this, she added, the MCD had endangered the lives of the children in the area. While the local MLA has sent them a portable toilet cabin, it wasn’t functional till Thursday evening.

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