“My brother started working as a food delivery executive three years ago because of our financial condition. He quit college to take care of expenses... We are shattered now," said Mohd. Khaja, brother of 23-year-old Mohd. Rizwan, who died after he fell from the third floor of a building in Hyderabad after allegedly trying to evade a customer's dog.
The incident took place on 11 January at Lumbini Rock Castel in Hyderabad's Banjara Hills when Rizwan was making a Swiggy delivery to a customer. On 14 January, Rizwan passed away at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital (NIMS).
Banjara Hills Inspector M Narender told The Quint, “An FIR has been filed against the pet-owner. At first, we had filed a case under section 366 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). After his death, we changed it to section 304 A (death by negligence).” No one has been arrested yet.
A 90-second CCTV footage of the incident surfaced online, and shows Rizwan knocking the door to deliver the package, when suddenly a dog rushed towards him. He is seen running to evade the attack and then tumbling and falling off the corridor railing. It is not clear whether he jumped or fell by accident.
No Statement by Swiggy on Compensation Yet
Rizwan's brother said that he received a call from the police at 2 am on 11 January about the incident.
The complaint copy, accessed by The Quint, read that when Rizwan knocked on the door to place the order, he heard the bark of a dog, a German Shepherd, who rushed towards him suddenly. Out of fear, he started running and slipped off the from the corridor railing. He sustained injuries to his head.
“Immediately, the flat owner, Shobana Nagani, shifted him to NIMS Hospital in an ambulance for treatment. Complainant suspects that due to negligence of the flat owner, as she did not tie the dog properly, this incident occurred,” read the complaint.
In a statement, a Swiggy spokesperson said, “We are saddened to hear about the untimely death of a young boy. Our team is in touch with the family of the deceased.” The spokesperson, however, did not respond to The Quint's queries regarding compensation.
'Rizwan Wasn't Scared of Dogs But the German Shepherd Appeared Suddenly'
Rizwan is survived by his father and three siblings. "Our father was a waiter and has diabetes. Our mother passed away five years ago. Rizwan lived with our father in a rented house and was taking care of his medical expenses and the rent too," said Khaja.
He said that Rizwan was pursuing B.Com (Honors) at a private college but had to drop out and take up a job as it was getting tough to foot the bill. "Our father was closest to him. He can't stop crying. My brother's only aim was to take care of our father and make him proud, which he did,” said Khaja, as he fought back tears.
When he was in the hospital, he was not able to talk. But from what I understood from the CCTV footage, he got scared because the dog barked and rushed toward him suddenly. It looked like he was trying to escape the attack, but he fell instead.Md Khaja, Rizwan's elder brother
Khaja said that Rizwan was never scared of animals. "It happened because the dog rushed towards him suddenly. Even if a mouse appears suddenly, one can get shocked," he said.
'Family Was Dependent on Him... We Are Hoping Swiggy Will Compensate Us"
Rizwan earned Rs 400 to Rs 700 a day, depending on the number of deliveries. While his timings were flexible, Khaja said that Rizwan usually worked from noon to 10 pm.
The family is hoping to receive compensation from the company. Khaja said, "The situation is very grim at home. We are hoping for some compensation, it will be really helpful for us."
Meanwhile, Shaik Salauddin, President, Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU), told The Quint, “It is very sad. Rizwan was only trying to avoid an attack when he slipped and fell. I am appealing to the company, and the dog owner to compensate the family under the Workmen Compensation Act. Further, pet owners should be able to control their pets or keep them on a leash. The person in front of you might not know whether your dog is friendly or not.”
The flat owner, Shobana, was unreachable when The Quint tried to reach out to her for a comment. This story will be updated if she responds.