Dreams of celebrating Diwali with their relatives in Mumbai ended on a tragic note for the Bhises after the body of their son Yash (8) was fished out from a well, located right in the middle of a municipal playground in Lalbaug. The mishap came to light on Wednesday evening after the child’s family went searching for him around 4 pm. An eyewitness informed them that he had last seen Yash playing near the uncovered well.
“Yash and his parents had come to spend his Diwali vacation with us. Yash left the house on Wednesday morning to play with his friends and was supposed to meet them at the playground, which is very close to our residence. It is only when he did not show up for lunch that we went around searching for him,” said Sachin Kade, Yash’s maternal uncle.
Kade added that fearing the worst after seeing the open well, they informed the fire brigade. It took 90 minutes for the firemen to fish out Yash’s body from the well. Yash’s father, Naresh, said the untimely death of his son had shattered the entire family. He works for a security firm in Wai. “We had never imagined that a vacation trip would end in such a tragedy,” he said.
Local activist Mahesh Venurlekar, who is lending a helping hand to the grieving family, alleged negligence on the part of the organisers to whom the playground had been leased out during Ganeshotav. “An innocent life has been lost on a BMC property, which is supposed to be a safe playground. Who should be held responsible for such blatant negligence? Authorities must investigate the matter thoroughly,” he said.
When this correspondent visited the playground, a team of BMC workers was busy plugging the opening in the well with cement covers. One of the workers said the well had been covered in the past to avoid mishaps, but someone had uncovered it. Surprisingly, despite a BMC notice installed on the unmanned plot stating that the land was reserved for a recreation garden and trespassers would be prosecuted, a group of men from a gas company were seen enjoying their afternoon lunch on the playground.
Senior Inspector Bhausheb Geete of the Kalachowki police station said that prima facie, the cause of death appeared to be accidental. Investigating officer Sachin Kotkar informed that they were still in the process of collecting evidence, and would be tracing the eyewitness to record his statement.