Death of 60-year-old Lal Bahadur in a fight over tanker water in Wazirpur area, north Delhi, on March 17, turned into a larger family tragedy on Thursday.
His son, Rahul Harijan (19), a student of DU’s Satyawati College, succumbed to injuries allegedly sustained during that fight, making him the second person to die of water riots in Delhi this season.
Around 300 people and family members parked his dead body on a hand cart, with chunks of ice to prevent rotting, on Shalimar Bagh. They raised slogans against the AAP government for over four hours.
Later, a large contingent of police arrived, including women personnel, and resorted to lathicharge, and forcibly took the body away.
Locals said inspite of the mishap, there has been no improvement in piped water supply, and they continue to depend on submersible pumps that throw up dirty water. A tanker comes only once in a day and caters to many, leading to stampede.
“Rahul was the one to have initially sustained injuries in the fight on that day,” said his mother, Sushila Harijan (50). “He went to attach the pipe to the tanker and was stopped by our neighbour, Sunny. He told them he had to go for duty and Sunny could fill his buckets thereafter, but instead he was landed a blow on nose and chest,” she said.
“Seeing him bleeding through nose, our daughter fetched my husband, Lal Bahadur, who was also beaten badly and died. Rahul was complaining of chest pain since then, but with one tragedy at home already, we couldn’t attend to him,” she added.
His aunt, Ranjeeta, said Rahul was first rushed to Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital in Ashok Vihar on Wednesday, with a lump of coagulated blue blood showing on the skin above the ribs. He was then referred to Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, but died on the way. “He was the only educated one in the family, and expected to take care of all,” she said.
His post-mortem was conducted on Thursday, but the result is yet to arrive. “We are not sure of the reason behind the death,” a police official said. A neighbour, Ram Sajan, said, “We have been facing acute water crisis since January 1, when Delhi government said levels of ammonia in Yamuna, coming from Haryana, has increased. After the incident, residents have contributed Rs 2,000 each to get submersible pumps fitted.” DJB vice-chairperson, Dinesh Mohaniya, however, said there is no water shortage now. “As per my knowledge, there is no problem. But in case there is an issue, I will find out and get it corrected.”