'Wanted to Join IAF': Father of Delhi Minor Who Died After 'Assault' By Seniors

The Delhi Police told The Quint that an FIR will be registered in the case only after the post-mortem report.

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Camerapersons: Ribhu Chatterjee, Iqra Ahmed

Video Editors: Nitin Bisht, Purnendu Pritam

"My child was beaten so badly that he could not get out of bed till his last breath. No one can explain what we are going through."

Tears don't stop rolling down the eyes of 40-year-old Rahul Saraswat and his 37-year-old wife Soni as they recount the loss of their 12-year-old son Kintan who passed away on 20 January – nine days after he was allegedly beaten up by his seniors at a government school in North Delhi. Meanwhile, their 13-year-old daughter Tannu stays mum, finding comfort in repeatedly hugging her grandmother.

As the family sits inside their modest two-bedroom house in Shastri Nagar, Rahul tells The Quint, "I didn't lose a child; I lost my soul with him... what did my child do to deserve this? Why did God do this to us?"

After his health deteriorated on 20 January, Kintan – a class 6 student at Sarvodya Bal Vidyalaya School in North Delhi – was rushed to Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital in North Delhi's Ashok Vihar, where he later passed away.
The Delhi Police is yet to register a First Information Report (FIR) on the matter, officials confirmed to The Quint, adding that they are waiting for the post-mortem report to ascertain the cause of death. However, the family blames the school as well as medical negligence on the part of the doctors who treated their child.

What Happened on 11 January? 

Rahul Saraswat and his family of four moved to Delhi three years ago, with hopes to find better employment and education for his two children. While Rahul is a daily-wage worker at a private courier company in Delhi, Soni is a homemaker.

The alleged incident took place on 11 January, the parents said. When 12-year-old Kintan returned from school at around 2:30 pm, he was "limping and was in a lot of pain," Soni recalled.

"My son told me that during recess, he went to use the washroom. When he was returning to the classroom, he accidentally hit a senior boy. He told me that the senior called other kids and beat him up. He told me that they lifted him forcefully, threw him on the ground down and continued beating him."
Rahul Saraswat

Kintan had sustained injuries on his left knee. Despite multiple attempts by The Quint, authorities from Sarvodya Bal Vidyalaya School were unavailable for comments.

The family then took him to Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital for a check-up.

"The doctors gave us medicines and referred us to the orthopaedics department. The staff told us that the orthopaedics specialists were unavailable and on leave and asked us to come back after three days," Rahul claimed.

While Kintan felt better after the medicines, the family claimed to The Quint that he began experiencing pain again a few days later.

"On 15 January, we took him to another orthopaedic in Rohini who prescribed medicines. Since then, he began eating less and started to feel worse. On 20 January, his condition deteriorated further," Rahul said.

Kintan was once again taken to Deep Chand Bandhu for treatment.

"Doctors administered drips to Kintan and he started to feel better. He (Kintan) told us that he was hungry for the first time in nine days, so I immediately sent someone to bring daliya (khichdi). Meanwhile, the doctors had given him another round of drips. But by the time the food could reach, he died... he died in front of my eyes... I felt like my soul left with him."
Soni Saraswat

'Have Visited the School 4 Times in 9 Days, Yet No Action Taken'

Kintan's father said that in the last nine days, he had visited the school at least four times to talk to the authorities regarding the assault against his son.

He further claimed that every time he tried to visit the school, he was given a reason and "sent away."

"The school does not even have proper CCTV camera. Isn't it their responsibility to identify the students who hurt my son? We send our kids to school only so that they get educated, get a good job and prosper in life. We do it to ensure that they do not become daily-wage workers like us. Is this what we get in return?"
A teary-eyed Rahul Saraswat told The Quint.

Meanwhile, during his visit to the school on 12 January, two students from Kintan's class confirmed to him that his son was allegedly attacked by the seniors, Rahul said. However, none of them were able to identify the students.

The Quint also reached out to the school's principal multiple attempts. The story will be updated as and when when they respond.

The parents also claimed "negligence" by doctors and staff at the hospital. Denying the allegations, Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Vatsala Aggarwal told The Quint:

"The parents brought the child to the hospital at around 3:40 pm on 11 January. He was attended by the Outpatient Department (OPD), his X-ray was taken, and a painkiller was administered. Since it was not serious, he was asked to come back a few days later, but they did not. The child came back on the night of 20 January and was in critical condition. He had high fever, high blood pressure, and he also vomited. He was attended by our orthopaedic, paediatricians, and physicians. Despite our efforts, we could not revive the child."

Delhi Police Awaits Autopsy Report to Register FIR

The Delhi Police is yet to register an FIR into the incident, Deputy Commissioner of Police (north) Manoj Kumar Meena confirmed on Wednesday, 24 January.

“We got to know that the 12-year-old boy died during treatment at a hospital on 20 January. His family members alleged that the boy was beaten up by some students. The autopsy was done by a board of doctors on 23 January. We are waiting for the report to ascertain the actual reason behind the death. Legal action will be taken accordingly,” DCP Meena said.

Another police official The Quint spoke to said, "The only visible injury in Kintan was that on his knee. So, we need to wait for the post-mortem report to know what caused his death."

Meanwhile, in a statement released on Tuesday, 23 January, the Delhi government set up a committee and ordered a probe into the matter. The government has asked the committee to file its report within two days.

"Delhi government’s heart goes out to the bereaved family who lost their child in such a tragic incident... A prompt inquiry has been ordered in the matter and a report from the committee and the head of the school is yet to be submitted," the statement read.

'He Wanted to Join the Indian Air Force...'

Rahul and Soni remember Kintan as a "happy, smart, and well-behaved" child, who loved making videos on social media.

The Delhi Police told The Quint that an FIR will be registered in the case only after the post-mortem report.

Rahul and Soni Saraswat remember their son Kintan by looking at his drawing books. 

(Photo: Varsha Sriram/The Quint)

"He used to study very well. Even before this incident, he came to me and said that he scored 80/100 in his math exam. I asked him why not more? To which he said, 'Mummy, I will definitely do better in my finals.' But what can he do now, he has left all of us so soon..."
Soni Saraswat

Meanwhile, Rahul said that his son had dreamt of joining the Indian Air Force. All Rahul and Soni Saraswat want is justice for what had happened to their son.

"We came to Delhi with dreams of giving our children good education. And look at us now.... I just want the school authorities to identify the boys and make them stand in front of me. I want to ask the boys why they did it. I want to ask them to look me in the eye and answer why my boy, who has never been hit by us even once, deserved to die the death he did?" Soni told The Quint.

(Correction: The article incorrectly stated that Kintan Saraswat aspired to join the Indian Army. He wanted to join the Indian Air Force, according to his father. The error is regretted.)

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Topics:  Crime   North Delhi   Student Death 

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