- Sisters lived with parents in Delhi; forensic report suggests starvation
- Father out in search of work, mother not "mentally sound", say police
- BJP, Congress blame AAP government over "poor ration distribution"
The death in Delhi of three sisters aged eight, four and two, possibly of starvation, has caused shock among officials and led to an inquiry, along with political sparring between the capital's ruling Aam Aadmi Party or AAP, and the BJP.
The sisters lived with their parents in east Delhi's Mandawali. They 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.
The girls' father, a rickshaw-puller, is missing. Some neighbours say he had gone in search of work and would return in a couple of days. Their mother is not "mentally sound", the police believe. She reportedly told them she did not know what happened to her daughters and how they died.
The initial postmortem report said the girls died due to "malnourishment / starvation and its complications". Doctors are carrying out a second autopsy, say the police.
I shall go to the house in Mandavali tomorrow morning where this incident took place. https://t.co/2GVbmm8MDw- Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) July 25, 2018
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.
The girls, it is suspected, had not eaten for days. On Monday, their father had reportedly arranged food but since they were unwell, they could not eat.
The family, which is from 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 one also 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.
Attacking the AAP government, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said that 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 also sought to corner the Arvind Kejriwal government, saying, "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)