Thane: Drought-hit baby drowns in bucket on birthday eve

One-year-old Pari’s mother had filled all the buckets at home after getting water supply for the first time in several days; when she returned from her bath, her baby had drowned in one of the buckets

The Waghmares have just one photograph to remember their angel by. Yet, it’ll be the look of her cold body that’ll haunt them for the rest of their lives. The family of four had arrived in Thane a month ago to escape the harsh, unrelenting drought in their village, Ahmedpur, in Latur district. Tuesday was to be a milestone — their youngest daughter, Pari, would have turned 1 — and the family was looking forward to returning home to celebrate the day.

Pari would have turned one today
Pari would have turned one today

That joy was cut short yesterday, by the same succour they came looking for in Mumbai. Pari drowned in a bucket of water saved for drier days.

A distraught Dayanand Waghmare with the body of his daughter, Pari (left)
A distraught Dayanand Waghmare with the body of his daughter, Pari (left)

Erratic supply
The day had begun on a joyous note. After several days, the family had received sufficient water. Shantabai Waghmare (27), Pari’s mother, stored it in as many buckets and pots she could lay her hands on.

Mother, Shantabai, with her other daughter at their shanty where Pari drowned, in Bhimnagar in Thane. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Mother, Shantabai, with her other daughter at their shanty where Pari drowned, in Bhimnagar in Thane. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

“We do not get a regular supply of water. So, I saved the water we received in buckets and pots. I went to bathe around 11.30 am. Both my daughters were asleep at that time. When I came out, I saw Pari upside down in a bucket of water. I immediately took her out and kept pumping her stomach. She was in shock and was struggling to breathe,” said Shantabai.

The toddler was rushed to a nearby TMC facility and then sent to the Thane Civil Hospital, where she was declared dead on arrival.

Allegation
While a distraught Shantabai claimed that the doctors could have saved her child, doctors from the Thane Civil Hospital said there was nothing they could do, as Pari was already dead when she was brought in. Dr SS Kamble, chief medical officer of the hospital, said, “The child drowned; water filled her lungs. When she was brought here, her heart had already stopped. We did our best to revive her.”

Dr Chapalgaonkar, who conducted the post-mortem examination, too, confirmed this in their report.

The family had moved in with Shantabai’s mother in a Bhimnagar slum in Thane. “We came from Latur due to a water crisis. We were to return home after Pari completed a year,” said Dayanand, Pari’s father, who works as a housekeeper.

Santosh Kulkarni, inspector of Vartak Nagar police station, said an accidental death report has been filed.

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