It began like any other day for people in Dallupura village, located just beside Vasundhara Enclave in east Delhi. They had gone to work, leaving their children behind to play outside their homes. At 9.50 am when a wall collapsed, trapping five children in the debris, they began rushing back.
Around 10.30 am, five kids were declared dead at Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital. The entire village slipped into a state of shock and grief.
“We rushed for home when we got to know about the incident in the neighbourhood. I took a deep breath and thanked God for saving the lives of my family. But when I came to know that five kids had died, I was shocked,” said Ramesh Sharma, a fruit seller at Ashok Nagar who hails from Bihar.
Family members were screaming, crying as they looked for their children trapped under the debris. But Amit,7, Ankit,6, his sister Baby, 4, Khanchan 7, and Aditya, 2, didn't make it alive.
Manoj, who hails from Nalanda district in Bihar, too was at work, loading junk on vehicles, when he got a call saying his daughter was under the rubble. “I rushed home and found bricks all over the place. Police told me that my daughter had been sent to hospital. I was hoping she was alive,” he told Deccan Herald.
He rushed to the hospital with his wife Sangeeta Devi — who works as a maid in a nearby apartment — and found their only daughter Khanchan dead. Their tears wouldn't stop flowing.
Mitlesh, who is from Uttar Pradesh, saw her son and daughter die before her eyes. She had been sitting in front of her house, chopping vegetables for lunch while watching the kids play around a makeshift temple in the neighbourhood.
“The owner brought a crane in the open plot to clear the mud. My two children, Ankit and Baby, were playing with the rest of the kids. I saw the wall coming over my children. Within seconds, my children came under the huge bricks. What wrong did we do?
Why did this happen?” said Mitlesh, in tears outside Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital mortuary.
Her husband Satish was at work at East End Apartment in New Ashok Nagar. When he got to know about the wall collapse, he headed home and found the owner trying to flee. Satish and other locals grabbed him but he still gave them the slip.
“When I saw my two kids being taken out of the debris, they were in a pool of blood. The doctors declared them brought dead,” he said.
And Sadan Halder, who is from West Bengal, lost his son Amit. Teary-eyed, he waited alone outside the mortuary for the child's body.