While millions in the city celebrated Ganesh visarjan on Wednesday, tragedy struck an Antop Hill family, as their son died after he was crushed by a visarjan truck. Ayush Gupta (5) was crushed under the front tyre of a truck at Gandhi market at 8.30 pm.
Priyanka Gupta, a relative of Ayush, said, “All of us were sitting on the divider between the two roads, eating prasad. I think he lost his balance and fell from the divider, onto the road. Soon after, a truck carrying a few passengers crushed him. Once the driver realised what had happened, he sped away.”
She, however, admitted that they were not keeping a vigilant watch on the young boy and is unsure as to how he slipped from the divider and fell on the road. Ayush, his mother Seema, his younger sister Shreya, and Priyanka were all sitting on the divider between the main road that leads to the flyover opposite the Sion and Matunga police stations.
A student of Class I at Shree Sanatan Dharam School, Ayush celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi with his family every year at the same spot in Gandhi Market, according to his grandfather. “They go for the celebrations there every year. But after this disaster, his mother is beyond consolation. She has been crying continuously since last night, and refuses to eat or speak to anyone,” he said.
The Guptas are a joint family who stay in a chawl in Raoli Camp at Antop Hill. Priyanka, the only eyewitness who was able to speak, said that by the time they realised that Ayush had come under the truck, it had sped away. “I don’t even remember how it happened so fast. He was sitting right next to us,” she added.
The traffic police on duty at the spot chased down the truck (MH-06-AC-3211) and nabbed the driver, Anand Sethu (30). He is now in police custody, along with his truck.
Speaking to MiD DAY, senior traffic police inspector Sujata Patil said, “We went after the truck and caught the driver at Hindmata. The driver, and some of the male passengers reeked of alcohol.”
Sethu was booked under sections 304A (causing death by negligence) and 279 (rash driving on a public way) of the Indian Penal Code, and section 134(A) (duty of driver in case of accident) of the IMV Act, after an FIR was filed at Sion police station. He was produced in Bhoiwada court yesterday.
Ayush’s father was in Delhi at the time of the incident. An air-conditioner technician by profession, he immediately rushed back to the city for the last rites, which were performed at Shivaji Park at 3 pm yesterday.
The family plans on admitting the mother, Seema, to a hospital if her depression worsens in the next few days.
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