Rescue team trying to save two-year-old Fatehvir Singh who was stuck in a narrow well for more than four days but was pulled out dead on Tuesday in Sangrur in Punjab. (AFP)
A VILLAGE here bid a final farewell on Tuesday to two-year-old Fatehvir Singh, pulled out dead from a borewell shaft after an unsuccessful rescue operation which lasted over four days. Family members and other residents of Bhagwanpura village in Sangrur district struggled to hold back tears as the toddler’s body was placed in a small wooden coffin before being consigned to the flames. Rescue workers pulled out the toddler at 4.45 am, after he had remained stuck in the shaft for nearly 110 hours, an official said. An ambulance, with doctors and a life-support ventilator on board rushed him to the PGIMER in Chandigarh, about 130 km away. Doctors there declared him dead on arrival.
A post-mortem said he had been dead for some days. The body was then flown back to the village in a helicopter arranged by the Punjab Government. Opposition parties have accused the State Government of “negligence.” The child turned two on Monday, when he was still stuck at the depth of 125 feet in the 150-foot borewell shaft. Rescue workers had dug along the shaft to reach the boy. Fatehvir was rushed to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh in an ambulance, amid police security, Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori told PTI. There was police deployment at PGIMER to prevent any untoward incident had run high.
A small group of protesters had gathered at the hospital, condemning the “delay” in rescue operation. In Sangrur, the body was taken to the child’s home, briefly allowing family members and others to pay their respects. The last rites were conducted following Sikh traditions. Relatives blamed the authorities for the death, alleging lapses in the rescue operation.
“They didn’t use the proper technique to rescue him early on. Trial and error methods were adopted for days. Where were the modern methods and technology,” a relative said. Villagers alleged that ultimately he was pulled out from the borewell by clamps fastened to his hands. “If they had to use this method, they could have done it much before. What was the purpose of prolonging the family’s agony,” said a villager.