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Posted at: Jun 12, 2019, 6:46 AM; last updated: Jun 12, 2019, 6:46 AM (IST)

Fatehveer’s death triggers protests

Residents allege government negligence, ill-preparedness led to the tragedy
Fatehveer’s death triggers protests
Residents protest after the death of Fatehveer in Sangrur on Tuesday. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 11

Alleging negligence of the Sangrur administration and the NDRF during the operation to rescue two-year-old Fatehveer from a borewell, area residents today protested in various towns of the district and demanded action against the erring officials. The protesters raised slogans against the state government even as the family of the deceased expressed satisfaction over the government’s efforts.

The 109-hour-long rescue operation concluded this morning. The child was declared dead and his body was cremated at Sheron village amid tension.

Kulwant Singh, a resident of Cheema, alleged, “The authorities kept changing the method of operation and did not allow any local to help them. Had they allowed local persons who are experts in digging borewells, Fatehveer could have been saved.”

In another protest, irate residents of Sunam and surrounding areas blocked the Sunam-Bhawanigarh road. Jagtar Singh of Sunam said, “The authorities could not pull out a child from a borewell for 109 hours, all because of their lackadaisical approach. Responsibility must be fixed and strict action taken against erring officials.”

Traders kept their shops closed in Sunam and Longowal to express solidarity with the aggrieved family.

“Fatehveer’s father is an arhtiya in Sunam. We kept our establishments closed to express solidarity with the family. We request the government to learn a lesson from this incident and procure latest technology to prevent such mishaps in future,” said Ravinder Singh Cheema, president, Arhtiya Association, Punjab.

After a post-mortem examination at PGI, Chandigarh, the body of the child was airlifted to Bhagwanpura village and later cremated at Sheron village.

In a video message uploaded on social media, victim’s grandfather Rohi Singh said, “With folded hands, I request the people to end their protest as we are satisfied with efforts of the Sangrur administration and the government.”

Denying the allegations of negligence, Sangrur Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori, said, “The civil and police officials and area residents did not leave any stone unturned to save the child.”

Amarinder seeks report, orders preventive steps 

  • Chandigarh: Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday sought a report on the incident, while ordering closure of all open borewells across the state.
  • The CM directed the Disaster Management Group, headed by the Chief Secretary, to finalise a set of SOPs (standard operating procedures) to check and prevent such incidents.
  • The group has also been asked to study the inadequacies, if any, in the relief operations, and give recommendations to ensure better and quicker operations in future. TNS
Machines could’ve harmed kid: NDRF

According to the NDRF officials, no physical harm was caused to the child during the extraction process, which had to be conducted manually as the use of machinery could have potentially harmed the child, especially because of the water requirement of such equipment.

Order judicial probe, demands LoP Cheema

Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema has demanded a judicial probe into the “lapses” leading to the death of Fatehveer. He held both the Central and state governments responsible for their “apathetic stance to carry out the rescue operation under the watch of untrained teams which lacked professional acumen and knowhow”.

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