New Delhi: Three sisters aged eight, four and two, who lived with their parents in east Delhi’s Mandawali died possibly of starvation. This news has shocked officials across the state, which led to an inquiry, along with political sparring between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The girls were brought to a hospital by their mother and a family friend around 1 pm on Wednesday. The hospital then reported the deaths to the police. Their father, a rickshaw-puller, is missing. Neighbours said that he had gone in search of work and would return in a couple of days.
The initial postmortem report said the girls died due to “malnourishment / starvation and its complications”. Doctors are carrying out a second autopsy, the police said. Doctors found no trace of food in the girls. There were no injury marks on their bodies.
A forensic team inspected the place where the family was staying and found some medicine bottles and pills for treating diarrhoea. The medicines have been sent for forensic tests.
It is suspected that the children had not eaten for days. On Monday, their father had reportedly arranged food but since they were unwell, they could not eat.
The family West Bengal, had moved into the house on Saturday, according to neighbours. The girls’ father used to pull a rickshaw he had rented. After it was stolen a few days ago, they were brought to the area by a friend, who offered them his place to stay.
Two of the younger sisters had been unwell for a few days, with bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea. Police are investigating how the third girl fell ill suddenly.
“The girls’ mother is mentally unsound and has not been able to tell the police what exactly happened to her daughters. The medicines found from the spot were bought from a mohalla clinic,” a police official said.
Reacting to the incident, rebel AAP leader Kapil Mishra lashed out at the Delhi government while raising questions over AAP’s promise of setting subsidised canteen across the national capital.
He also suggested the action plan, which Delhi government should have adopted to avert the deaths.
Attacking the AAP government, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said how it was “sad” that such a “mishap” occurred in Delhi, where the government claims to champion ration distribution to the poor.
“It saddens us beyond expression that such an incident happened in the constituency of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia,” he said.
AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj retaliated by saying that the Delhi government’s attempts to introduce the doorstep delivery of ration was being blocked by the BJP at the centre.
Delhi Congress Chief Ajay Maken said, “We had warned the Delhi government that nine lakh eligible families have not got ration cards despite applying for it. Such incident would occur if needy are deprived of ration and ration cards.”
(With inputs from PTI)