'My son did not deserve to die'
NEW DELHI: His innocent attempt to help some strangers cost him his life, but it also touched scores of Delhiites. Some 400 people showed up for his last rites on Sunday afternoon to express solidarity with his grief-stricken family.
According to his family, 9-year-old Santosh Kumar Mahto may be dead, but his spirit remains to watch over them. "My son did not deserve to die. He was a good boy, someone who always tried to help others. Even when he died, he was only trying to do the right thing and return the packet that the bombers had thrown, thinking they had dropped it," said a grieving Rekha, Santosh's mother.
The distraught Rekha is reportedly a heart patient and was in a state of semi-consciousness. She added that Santosh was unwell on Saturday and hence had taken leave from the nearby municipality school he went to. "He was very bright. Amongst all the siblings, he was the most intelligent and always got above-average marks in all his examinations. He wanted to be a doctor when he grew up and treat poor people like us for free," she said. He was fourth out of the eight siblings and studied in the fifth standard. The family lives in Islam Colony area of Mehrauli.
Santosh's brother Bumbum said that the child could not even be recognised when his body was handed over to the family. "His head was almost not there. We could not believe the horrible death he suffered," he said. Suneeta Devi, one of the neighbours said, "Santosh was a sweet and amicable boy who was always willing to help people around. We never saw him disrespecting anyone ever. Even though his family is extremely poor, he was very well-mannered. May God give him peace and his family the strength to accept his death."
Santosh's body was reportedly handed over to the family at AIIMS Trauma centre hospital around 2.10 pm on Sunday after a post mortem. "Our distant relatives as well as people we didn't even know came in large numbers for his cremation which we performed at Mehrauli crematorium. They had come to know of his death through TV and newspapers. Although, the grief remains and will always, this gesture by people showed us how much support we have," said Bacchu Mahto, Santosh's father, a labourer from Bihar's Lakhi Sarai district. Kajoma Devi, Santosh's grandmother was inconsolable. "My little boy is gone. I wish we could see him once," she wailed.
Santosh had gone to fetch a crate of eggs for his brother's tea and omelette stall in the area on Saturday when the incident occurred.